External Auditor

An external auditor is an independent professional who conducts the external audits of an organisation. An external auditor examines and audits the financial statements and internal control systems of an organisation to ensure that the records reflect the true financial state of the organisation and that the procedures employed are correct.

An external auditor is not affiliated with the client they are auditing, and is therefore able to make an impartial analysis of the organisation's financial position in an audit report. They evaluate all accounting, payroll and purchasing records, as well as any documents related to investments, stocks or loans. The resulting audit opinions have credibility for investors, creditors and the general public because the financial statements have been independently appraised. External auditors play an essential role in sustaining confidence in public and private entities by ensuring that transparent and high-quality financial reporting takes place. 


Tasks may include:

  • Performing independent, third-party reviews of all the financial records of a company or corporation;
  • Evaluating all accounting, payroll and purchasing records, as well as any documents related to investments, stocks or loans;
  • Providing an accurate, unbiased analysis of the company’s financial condition in an audit report;
  • Designing information and reporting systems, procedures and controls to meet external financial reporting requirements;
  • Performing independent, third-party reviews of all the financial records of a company or corporation.

Personal Requirements

  • integrity and respect for confidentiality
  • good judgement and discretion, especially when sharing sensitive information 
  • diligence and conscientiousness in attention to one's duties
  • good aptitude for mathematics and english 
  • ability to analyse, compare and interpret facts and figures quickly
  • ability to work accurately and convey recommendations clearly
  • logical, intelligent and able to make sound judgements
  • willingness to work hard and possibly long hours
  • good social and communication skills
  • objective and empathetic
  • patience and perseverance 
  • creative in solving difficult problems
  • initiative when difficult problems are encountered.

How to Enter

Degree: You must enrol for an Accountancy Degree that is accredited by SAICA. This degree is 3 or 4 years depending on the university. You need to complete this degree and meet the university’s requirements for entry into the Honours/CTA.
Honours: The Honours Degree is a 1 or 2 year degree depending on the university you have enrolled with. After completing your CTA you will start with your articles.
Articles: Depending on your qualification at entry into the training programme, your articles could be 3, 4 or 5 years. The general three year articles will include the following:
- Year 1 – Immediately after your CTA you write your first board exam. This exam is called the Initial Test of Competence (ITC). This exam is written in January and there is another opportunity in June of each year.
- Year 2 – In November of your second year, you will write your second board exam, this is called the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
Qualify as a CA(SA): The designation, Chartered Accountant (SA) is awarded by SAICA. 
Audit Development Programme (ADP): The ADP is a specialisation period after you have qualified as a CA. It takes a minimum of 18 months. You must work for this period at an auditing firm that is registered with the IRBA. During this period you will gain experience in auditing at a more senior level, you will also be involved in tasks that are more complex. This means that you become a specialist as an auditor. You will be allowed to sign audit opinions only once you have successfully completed this ADP and registered with the IRBA.

Source: Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA).


public accounting firms
public sector - government, local government, statutory bodies
private concerns - commercial, financial institutions
universities or universities of technology

Further Information

Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA)
Building 2
Greenstone Hill Office Park
Emerald Boulevard
Tel: 087 940 8800

Getting Started

arrange to speak to an external auditor in your area and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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