Investment banks, hedge funds, thrifts, and other financial institutions are tasked with saving, investing, and distributing the monetary deposits of both individual and commercial clients. Large amounts of funds flow through these organizations daily, leaving them vulnerable to illegal activity such as fraud or theft. To minimize this risk, financial institutions maintain audit departments that administer accounting policies and ensure accuracy on all records. Audit coordinators are the operational backbone of these departments.
Educational and Skill Requirements
Audit coordinators at financial institutions must posses a high school diploma. Many employers, however, require candidates to have college degrees. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2009 that 25 percent of these professionals possess an associate’s degree or higher. Candidates for this role should be strong mathematicians, as numbers are dealt with daily. Computer skills are also important, as financial institutions typically use electronic technology, such as computer-based spreadsheets and accounting software, to organize and manage financial matters. Equally important to the role is an acute attention to detail.
Financial institutions are heavily regulated by federal and local authorities. As a result, audit coordinators must remain current on all laws and policies regulating the industry, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. This is accomplished in a variety of ways, including continuing education courses and reading industry related literature. Audit coordinators liaise with auditors and examiners to develop polices and best practices to ensure that audits are performed in compliance with these rules. They also educate colleagues, such as new auditors, on current and updated policies.
Audits occur in each area of a financial institution throughout the year. Audit coordinators engage and work with these various departments in order to plan, schedule and execute audits. Although, audit engagements are typically performed by auditors, it is not uncommon for audit coordinators to perform them on occasion. When an engagement has concluded, they generate outcome reports for presentation to senior financial management, such as an audit committee.
According to the BLS' 2010 report, the median salary paid to bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks was $34,030, a salary almost even with the national average of $33,840. The lowest 10 percent of this population earned less than $22,000, while the top 10 percent were paid more than $50,000.
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