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A Day in the Life: Staff Auditor With Three Years of Experience at a Top 50 Accounting Firm

9:00 a.m.: I get into the office around the same time that everybody else does. From previous experience, I don’t expect to hear from my superiors (i.e., senior auditor and/or manager) until at least 10:00 a.m. Based on my workload, I anticipate having two hours of availability today. Consequently, in accordance with the firm’s policy, I e-mail the human resources representative and inform her of my schedule. She e-mails me back, stating that one of the senior managers might need my help in the afternoon. For the next hour I read my e-mails, tie up loose ends from the day before, and come up with the plan for the day. When working in the office, I usually sit with the other staff auditors, because the cubicles can only be used by the senior auditors and managers.

10:00 a.m.: I still have not heard back from my superiors. So I e-mail them the status of my work. Half an hour later the senior auditor calls me inquiring whether I have any questions and wondering how soon I will be done.

11:00 a.m.: The senior auditor stops by and asks me to put aside my current project. For the next 30 minutes, he wants me to make photocopies and deliver envelopes to the mailroom. Once these tasks are completed I continue the original project, which entails tying the quantity amounts on the holdings report to those found on the broker statement. I also have to foot (i.e., total) the holdings report and ensure that all the numbers in this report add up to the total holdings amount shown at the bottom of this statement.

12:00 p.m.: I e-mail other staff auditors wondering what they are doing for lunch. Most of us know each other from the summer internship (which took place between our junior and senior years in college). Turns out that half of my friends are at clients’ sites and others are swamped with work. However, two of my buddies are heading to the local diner at 1:00 p.m., and I agree to join them.

The work is monotonous, but the time is flying by. Once I finish working on the holdings report, I start working on the cash statement. For some reason, the total amount on the cash statement does not tie to the total on the bank statement, differing by $3 million. I call the senior auditor about this issue. He explains that the difference is due to timing. In other words, the bank statement does not reflect the $3 million deposit made at month end.

1:00 p.m.: Lunch.

2:00 p.m.: I check my voice messages and e-mails. One of the e-mails is from the client and is addressed to the entire team. Two weeks after requesting the documents, the client finally provided us with the necessary reports. This means that my workload is about to get heavier. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, I receive a call from the manager. He wants to meet with the entire team in order to come up with the plan of action and allocate the work. The meeting is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. I add the meeting to my calendar and resume my activities from the morning.

3:00 p.m.: I receive a call from the human resources representative. She wants to find out my availability for the rest of the day. I should be done with the current project by 4 and tell her so. She provides me with the name and phone number of a manager who is in need of assistance. I promptly call him. Turns out there is an Excel file that needs to be modified. The manager provides me with detailed instructions on what to do. This is an urgent project that needs to be completed by the end of the day. Once I get off the phone, I wrap up the morning project and commence work on the new assignment.

5:00 p.m.: I run into difficulty with the Excel file. The assignment requires me to use the "vlookup" function in Excel but I am not sure how to properly use this feature. I call the manager and he guides me through this issue.

6:30 p.m.: I finish the Excel project and e-mail it to the manager. I also e-mail the completed project from the morning to my senior for review and final sign-off. Before heading home I still need to update my hours in the system. Since I worked on two different projects today, I carefully allocate the proper number of hours worked to each of these projects. I organize my desk, turn off my laptop and start to head out. Glancing at my watch, the time reads 7. I am fortunate that this is not the busy season, when my departure time might be as late as 11.

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