How to Audit (Part 3): The Audit Doughnut

There are different seasons during the audit working year. This is demonstrated by the audit doughnut:

The Audit Doughnut
Many new highlighter colours were invented in the making of the Audit Doughnut
© James Huang 2010

I am going to give an insight into what the trainee auditor’s life tastes like.

The Main Doughnut Sections

Busy Season
Half of the year’s audit work will be concentrated into these three months. Annoyingly, it is also the darkest and wettest time of the year.

College and Exams
Exams are a horrid burden and will ruin a lot of weekends for three years. However, college is a nice break from work. It’s a good chance to catch up with the other trainees who you otherwise wouldn’t see.

25 days is the standard number of holiday time. You don’t have to take it during the summer and Christmas, but you can’t take any during busy season and college time is immovable.

The most interesting doughnut finding is that trainees don’t actually work that much when you add college and holiday time. For that reason trainee auditors don’t get paid as much as bankers or lawyers, but the trade-off is fair.

The September Milestone

Accountancy firms are the largest recruiters of graduates, therefore, the audit year follows the academic year because most join in September. The new first years do bring a feeling of renewal. The new joiners’ event celebrates their entry by subjecting them to the ritual humiliation of karaoke. They made me remember when I joined just 12 months previously. I realised how far I had come in that time (and how much stationery I had wasted).

September is also promotion and pay rise season. This is celebrated by the awarding of medals and the consumption of doughnuts.

Social Events

Large social committee budgets and mandatory contributions means that there are lots of social events throughout the year.

The highlight is the Christmas party, which is ridiculously messy but will give you lots to talk about until next year. There are regular pub meetings, which are mainly caused by a high turnover of staff leading to lots of leaving drinks.

Strangely, there are no regular pre-weekend Friday drinks because auditors are scattered throughout different client sites and are not based in a common location. The other (implausible) explanation is that I’m not being invited.

Corporate Social Responsibility Day
This is where the department take a day out of work to help the community. In my first year, we painted an old persons home. Other departments have gardened, cleared rubbish and done volunteer auditing for the needy.

Department Away Day
The department stops auditing and does something fun for a day. This may include sailing, horse racing and hunting bandits

Inter-Department Sports Events
The rivalries cover football, pub quizzes and netball. Accountants are competitive. The sight of partners dressed in fairy wings and pink leggings is pretty scary.

Looking Forward

Trainee auditors enjoy a varied (and tasty) life. If you are are having a bad week then there is always an event or a change in activity to look forward to. Fifteen exams is daunting when you start but time does pass crazily quickly. Busy season is hard but there are lots of fun times too. I look forward to qualification and the lifting of the exam burden. But the audit doughnut does become somewhat less interesting:audit doughnut for managers

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses

  • James Rhodes says:

    How busy is the busy season. Do you have to work 12+ hours day and no weekends? Or is that too much? My girlfriend wants tc come meet me in January. I want to know if I can be home to spend time with her….


  • Personally, I’ve only worked one Sunday in two years. You can expect long hours during the week. I wouldn’t be worried about getting time off at the weekend, especially since it sounds like this will be your first year.

Leave a Reply