A week in the life of a trainee auditor
I joined Audit Wales in October 2020 as a graduate trainee.
Before I joined, I studied History at the University of Oxford. I had done various part-time jobs, such as working in a chocolate shop, looking after children on a summer school, and serving in a fish and chip shop, but Audit Wales was my first ‘proper’ job and my very first experience of audit or finance.
I applied to Audit Wales mostly because I had studied twentieth-century social policies during my History degree and I was interested in public policy and government. I decided I wanted to work in the public sector and began searching for opportunities. I found the Audit Wales graduate scheme online and liked the sound of the work it involved. I had no experience of finance, but I thought audit sounded interesting and I had enjoyed Maths at school. Having grown up and gone to university in southern England, I also wanted to try moving to a new place.
My average week at Audit Wales is something like this:
- Monday (working from home): First thing, I attend a ‘catch up cuppa’ over Microsoft Teams with my line manager and other members of staff she supervises. We chat about our weekends and new things that we are working on at the moment. After this, I get started on my work for the week. I’m currently working on a unitary authority final accounts audit. Each council has to declare transactions with ‘related parties’ (organisations with links to the council) within their annual accounts. I begin checking that this declaration is complete and no organisations have been left out.
- Tuesday (working from home): At the start of the day, I have a Teams meeting with other colleagues working on the same audit. We chat about what we’ve been working on and how the audit is going. After this, I continue with my work on related parties for the rest of the day, checking in with the Audit Lead to ask questions as they come up.
- Wednesday (in the office): In the morning, I send a reminder to the council I am auditing, as I am waiting to hear back from them about some questions I’ve asked them. They send the information I’ve been waiting for and I call my Audit Lead to discuss what they have said, as I wasn’t sure what to do next. In the afternoon, I have a meeting with my line manager to talk about my progress with ‘professional development ladders’, which form part of graduate trainees’ ACA qualification. Trainees write out examples of when they have used different skills to show that they have a broad portfolio of professional abilities.
- Thursday (in the office): In the morning, I have a feedback meeting with the Audit Lead of the central government audit I was working on last month. We discuss what I did well and how my work could improve, as well as how the audit itself went this year. After this, I continue my county council audit work before attending the Auditor General’s monthly briefing, where he shares relevant news and answers questions from staff.
- Friday (working from home): Today, I start working on some new areas of the county council accounts. Another trainee finishes his work on the audit today, so he calls me to hand his work over to me and explain what still needs doing. I work on this for most of the day.
To anyone thinking of applying to Audit Wales, I would say firstly that you should read everything you can about Audit Wales, its work and the public sector in Wales. This will be key both in the application process and during your work as a graduate trainee. My only other tip is ‘Do it!’. Audit Wales is a great place to work and its graduate scheme is a fantastic opportunity to gain a first-class accountancy qualification and learn more about the Welsh public sector.
About the author
Hepzibah Hill is a graduate trainee at Audit Wales. She is in the 2020 cohort and is based in Cardiff. She grew up in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, before studying History at the University of Oxford. She enjoys playing folk music on the violin, dancing and swimming.