How to start a financial auditing business

Offer auditing support to organisations’ accounting teams, ensuring authenticity in financial reporting.

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Financial auditing is a necessity for both small businesses and large companies. Not only is it necessary to ensure tax law compliance but also to support proper budgeting and financial planning. You can offer financial auditing services to Australian businesses if you are a qualified and registered financial practitioner. This guide reveals the skills and qualifications you will need to start.

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What skills, knowledge or requirements do I need to start a financial auditing business?

Financial auditors examine the financial records of organisations to ensure they are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). They investigate financial records for instances of errors and fraud, ensuring accuracy and authenticity as well as compliance with securities and tax laws.

To start a financial auditing business, you should:

  • Know how to prepare financial statements like income statements and balance sheets
  • Be focused and detail-oriented
  • Be good with numbers and competent at quantitative analysis
  • Know how to use accounting software such as Quickbooks
  • Have critical thinking and investigative skills
  • Be organised
  • Be able to gauge an organisation's exposure to financial risk.

Beyond auditing skills, you will have to know how to market your business, communicate effectively with client organisations' financial teams during audit processes and oversee auditing engagements to completion.

What courses or qualifications do I need to complete?

financial auditor at work

You have to be fully qualified to offer financial auditing services to companies in Australia. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) maintains a register of qualified auditors in the country. To register, you should:

  • Hold an academic qualification in auditing or equivalent qualifications
  • Complete relevant courses such as CPA Australia's "Advanced Audit and Assurance" CPA Program
  • Meet approved competency/practical experience standards
  • Be capable of performing auditing tasks
  • Be a fit and proper person
  • Show evidence of sufficient indemnity insurance
  • Comply with ASIC's Code of Professional Conduct.

ASIC goes into detail on each of these requirements. For example, to meet its practical experience standards, you must have at least 3,000 hours of practical auditing experience in the last five years under the guidance of a registered auditor or at least 750 hours of experience supervising audits.

To be considered a fit and proper person, you should not have been convicted of an offence that involves an element of dishonesty in the last 10 years or be found civilly liable for breach of trust or fiduciary duty in a similar period.

Here's a list of websites that offer accounting courses:

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Are accredited courses available? Are free courses offered? Payment methods
Training.com.au
Training.com.au - Accounting
Yes
No
Visa
Shortcourses.com.au
Shortcourses.com.au - Accounting
Yes
Yes
TafeCourses.com.au
TafeCourses.com.au - Accounting
Yes
No
Visa
Udemy
Udemy - Accounting
Yes
Yes
Visa,Mastercard,Discover Card,American Express,PayPal
ExpertRating
ExpertRating - Accounting
Yes
Yes
Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, bank transfer, cheque
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Equipment and software needed to start a financial auditing business

You will need an office for your business. You can lease a commercial space, set up a home office or even book a desk at a coworking space if you are starting on your own. You will need to purchase office equipment such as:

You will need to purchase accounting software such as QuickBooks, project management software and consider creating a website for your business. On your website, it's a good idea to include an "about me" page detailing your qualifications, licences, experience and recognitions, if any.

What business structures do I need to consider before starting a financial auditing business?

You will have to register your business with the government before starting operations. First choose a name for your business, and then purchase its domain name. You could also consider registering the business name as a trademark.

Afterward, choose an ideal structure for your business. You can register as a sole trader, a partnership or company.

Each of these has its pros and cons as well as tax implications. For example, with a sole proprietorship, the business' income is taxed as part of the sole owner's personal income. With a partnership, partners are taxed on their share of the partnership's net income. With a company, the business assumes its own legal identity and is taxed at corporate rates.

Note that you can register as a financial auditor with ASIC as an individual or company. If you opt for a sole trader or partnership business structure, you may need to register with ASIC as an individual financial auditor. In an audit firm partnership, at least one partner will need to be registered with ASIC. If you opt for a company, you can register yourself as well as the company.

After choosing a name and structure, you can register your business at register.business.gov.au. You will receive an Australian Business Number (ABN) afterward to identify your business for tax purposes. Complete the legal registration process by applying for a business licence from your state authority. You may have to register with the Australian Taxation Office for goods and service tax (GST) if you expect your revenue to exceed $75,000 a year.

The exact documents you need will depend on your specific business, but you may need to use some of the following legal documents in your business:

You can go online to download customisable legal document templates from the following services. You can also get legal counsel from some of the same services.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product What's offered? Starting price to become a member Annual Fee from Any free legal documents?
Lawpath
Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
$79 per month (billed monthly)
Essentials: $288
You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
Choose an annual plan from just $288 and get unlimited revisions to your legal or business documents. Plus, unlock exclusive partner offers.
LawDepot
Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
$7.99 per month (prepaid for one year)
$59.88
You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
Get free legal documents in five to ten minutes.
Sprintlaw
Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
$699 (or choose a free template)
$699
Some documents are free to download. Get access to all documents with a membership.
Pick between a fixed-fee package from $99 and a 12-month plan that unlocks a host of membership benefits for $699.
Legal123
Legal123
Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
Varies per template
N/A
No
Get legal templates for any business type in Australia.
LegalVision
Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
$199 per month (bill monthly)
N/A
Some documents are free to download. Get access to all documents with a membership.
Your business can take advantage of unlimited lawyer consultations, fast turnaround times and free legal templates with LegalVision.
Law Central
Law Central
Legal documents and templates, Legal guides, Legal advice
Free for the Silver membership
Gold: $99
You can view samples and create your own document for free with the Silver membership.
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How much do I charge my clients?

You can charge your clients a fixed fee for every project or an hourly fee. You can also opt to set up a retainer pay structure for repeat clients, securing steady cash flow for your business. According to jobs site Seek, auditors in Australia earn, on average, between $65,000 and $75,000 per year.

Many startup financial auditing firms start with an hourly pay structure as they use more time to complete projects and have not yet figured out an accurate pricing model to ensure profitability. Later on, when they accumulate enough experience and can estimate a project's scope more accurately, they go with fixed fee models. You can reach out to competitors in your area to get their quotes then determine a suitable fee for your services.

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How can I build my customer base?

One way to build your customer base is by aggressive networking. Attend business events and trade association conferences to meet new clients, tell them about your services and hand them your business cards.

Next, set up profiles on professional networking sites like LinkedIn and offer valuable general tips on financial planning and taxes, positioning yourself as an approachable authority on all matters relating to auditing. You can even invite businesses to join your newsletter and receive additional financial tips. The more you engage with businesses, the more likely you will grow your customer base.

You can also opt to list your services on online marketplaces like Airtasker and Upwork, or on online business directories like White Pages and Truelocal.

Frequently asked questions

What insurance do you need as a financial auditor?

You may want to consider looking into professional indemnity insurance to get registered.

Is there demand for financial auditing?

Job listing platform Seek projects a 9.9 percent job growth for financial auditors from 2019 to 2024.

Do auditors do the same work as accountants?

Accountants provide organisations with everyday bookkeeping support. They track revenue and expenses, create financial reports and prepare taxes. Auditors come in later to verify the accuracy and authenticity of financial reports and taxes.

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