What is an Auditing Degree?

Auditors review accounting records and verify that they are accurate and legitimate. Auditing degree programs give students the skills needed to professionally carry out this responsibility.

By definition, auditing goes hand in hand with accounting. In fact, it is not uncommon for auditors to hold a degree in accounting instead of in the more specialized field of auditing. There is natural crossover between the two curricula as well, but the focus of each field is different.

Accounting is about financial process – transactions like payroll, tax deductions, vendor payments, tax return preparation, and income statement/balance sheet reconciliation. Auditing is about financial checks – examination, analysis, and verification.

Program Options

It is important to note that the auditing curriculum at many schools is offered as a concentration in the accounting or finance program.

Bachelor’s Degree in Auditing (or in Accounting or Finance with an Auditing Concentration) – Four Year Duration

Graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Auditing qualify for most entry-level and mid-level roles in the field. These are some common courses offered at the bachelor’s level:

  • Auditing – Introduction and Basic Principles
  • Auditing – Advantages
  • Auditing – Limitations
  • Auditing – The Ethical and Legal Environment
  • Different Types of Audit
  • Detection and Prevention of Fraud
  • Detection and Prevention of Errors
  • Audit Planning and Preparation
  • Audit Techniques
  • Duties of Audit Staff
  • Types of Evidence
  • Internal Audit
  • External Audit
  • Internal Control
  • Audit Sampling
  • Auditing of Purchase Transactions
  • Auditing of Cash Transactions
  • Depreciation and Reserves
  • Auditing – Capital and Revenue
  • Management Audit
  • Tax Audit
  • Audit Follow-Up and Closure
  • Introduction to Audit Management Software

Master’s Degree in Auditing (or in Accounting or Finance with an Auditing Concentration) – Two Year Duration
The master’s in this discipline prepares students to occupy senior positions in the auditing and accounting fields. Students’ focus is on research in the area of their chosen thesis topic. Areas of study may include:

  • Audit strategy
  • Auditing standards
  • Small business auditing
  • The role of auditors in the economy
  • Legal liability and internal control
  • Professional ethics and rules of conduct
  • Audit of the transaction cycles of an organization
  • Audit risk
  • The use of statistical and non-statistical sampling
  • Calculating appropriate sample sizes
  • Assessing internal controls
  • Designing and using audit programs
  • How audits are affected by electronic data processing
  • Audit of hospitals
  • Audit of educational institutions
  • Audit of non-profits and charitable institutions
  • Audit of sole proprietorships
  • Audit of partnership firms
  • Audit of cooperative societies
  • Audit of hotels

Doctoral Degree in Accounting with an Auditing Concentration – Four to Seven Year Duration
Holders of this advanced degree work in high-level roles in auditing and forensic accounting or as researchers and professors in the field. Students’ coursework at this level is largely dedicated to original research in preparation of defending their doctoral dissertation. In addition to their independent study, Ph.D. candidates may be required to take one or more courses on research methodologies in auditing.

Degrees Similar to Auditing

Degree programs in accounting prepare students for the work of gathering, recording, analyzing, interpreting, evaluating, and communicating financial information. This includes examining accounting records, reconciling accounts, preparing financial reports, and completing tax returns. The typical curriculum includes classes in mathematics, business management, business communication, business research, finance, and economics.

Actuarial Science
This degree program provides students with in-depth training in mathematics, statistics, and probability. It teaches the use of models in analyzing and solving financial problems and includes coursework in economics, finance, accounting, and computer science.

Business Administration
Business administration includes overseeing finances, staffing, and contract negotiations. A business administration degree program, therefore, teaches students how to plan, organize, and direct all the activities of an organization.

Economics asks wide questions about world economies, how governments should respond to financial crises, how stock prices and exchange rates are set, and how to help people living in poverty. The degree field is focused on how to use the concepts and theories of economics to study and solve problems in business.

The finance field is concerned with how individuals, businesses, and organizations raise, distribute, and use money. Majors in this field learn how to make financial decisions concerning raising funds, investments, and cost control for organizations. Topics covered include budgets, stocks and bonds, and interest rates.

Skills You’ll Learn

The demands of completing an auditing degree program leave graduates with a diverse set of transferable skills:

  • Attention to Detail – a misplaced decimal point can have very significant consequences
  • Organization – prioritizing responsibilities and keeping documents in order is vital in the accounting field
  • Adaptability and Time Management – in auditing, projects vary and schedules and deadlines change
  • Communication – an integral part of auditing is being able to explain problems and issues
  • Computer Literacy – modern auditing involves using sophisticated software
  • Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills – the work of scrutinizing financial information is seldom straightforward
  • Information Processing – auditing is about analyzing large amounts of information
  • Integrity – auditors are expected to adhere to strict ethical standards

What Can You Do with an Auditing Degree?

Financial auditors work as external or internal auditors.

External auditors provide auditing services to businesses and organizations on a short-term contractual basis. They review accounts and financial records to ensure their validity and legality.

Internal auditors are employed directly by the organizations they audit. Their role is to objectively assess their organization’s financial and operational processes and ensure that they comply with relevant laws and statutes.

While external auditors are normally employed by public accounting firms, internal auditors may be employed in any sector. Here is a list of some of them:

  • Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations
  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
  • Banking and Finance
  • Charity, Not-for-Profit, and NGOs
  • Culture, Music, and the Performing Arts
  • Educational Institutions
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Engineering
  • Environment and Conservation
  • Government Departments and Agencies
  • Healthcare Technology or Services
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Technology
  • Law
  • Management Consulting
  • Manufacturing and Production
  • Media, Publishing, and Entertainment
  • Mining
  • Recruitment and Human Resources
  • Retail, Sales, and eCommerce
  • Transportation


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