Although auditing processes have evolved and are increasingly supported by automated systems, Data & Analytics and even artificial intelligence, no machine is a replacement for the human intellectual capacities of judgment and leadership.

This moment demands more sophisticated profiles, and this means that auditors can’t get too comfortable. They need to develop some basic skills, which are essential to guaranteeing success in their activities.

The 5 competencies shown below were taken from a study done by KPMG / Forbes Insights. The results were recently published in the “Audit 2025 – The future is now” report. Let’s take a look:

1 Communication

The study shows that the ability to clearly convey thoughts, ideas and suggestions and articulate during meetings, presentations, interviews and negotiations is one of the skills most valued when it comes to contracting an Auditor.

2 Emotional intelligence

Clients also value an auditor who is able to keep their composure and focus on work, guaranteeing that the audit progresses smoothly. In certain situations, clients may feel frustrated when they find serious mistakes in processes, fraud or financial losses, and they may pressure the auditor. Emotional intelligence helps to moderate the effects of different kinds of pressure on the auditor’s judgment.

3 Critical thinking and astuteness

Auditors need to understand the segments in which their clients operate and how the organization is run. This allows them to ask the right questions and objectively analyze facts. This is fundamental so that an auditor is able to understand the scenario and propose improvements that actually make sense to a given client. In addition, the auditor needs to be astute, or rather, to easily perceive and find connection where most people perhaps may not. Finally, auditors should look to their experience and lessons that can help their clients.

4 Professional skepticism

Auditors should be able to objectively and constructively question clients. An auditor shouldn’t take shortcuts or accept that all information provided by the client is true. They need to be skeptical and question whether they are really managing to correctly understand the scenario. This skill is essential in order to produce a quality result at the end of the audit.

5 Interpersonal skills

Despite familiarity with standards and all of the required technical skills, audits also involve people. An auditor needs to deal with a wide variety of clients, in the most varied situations. That is why knowing how to deal with people is an indispensable skill. An empathetic auditor allows for a better understanding of the client’s perspective, as the audit moves forward. To do this, the ability to listen is also important. Some auditors recommend the 80/20 rule as the ideal proportion of time dedicated to listening and talking.

Finally, it is important to note that these skills form the basis for a successful audit and that is why they should be done in conjunction and continuously. An auditor should not seek to develop them in isolation or leave anything for later.

We hope that this article has helped you to gain a better understanding of what is expected of an auditor, at a time when technology is quickly advancing and changes are taking place in increasingly rapid and impactful manner.

To learn more about this subject and other topics related to auditing, I would like to invite you to see some other content that we’ve already posted here on the blog:

Marcelo Becher

Author

Marcelo Becher

Specialist in Strategic Management from PUC-PR. Business and market analyst at SoftExpert, a software provider for enterprise-wide business processes automation, improvement, compliance management and corporate governance.

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