A Long Journey To An Epiphany (Being An Auditor)

photo obtained from zazzle.com

photo obtained from zazzle.com

Author’s Note: Kwentong confusion ulit, this is all about my thoughts on being an auditor. Bakit “epiphany” eh samantalang confused pa ko? Ang epiphany ko dito ay ito: “Aha! *with light bulb beside my head* isa pala kong confused na tao at ayaw ko na mag-audit!”. Dapat gamitin ko ulit ang title na ito kapag nakahanap na ko ng panahon magsulat sa conclusion ko about my confusion. Anyway, lahat ito ay base sa experience at sa mga observations ko habang asa mundo ako ng audit, sana walang auditing firm na magalit sa kin. Peace 🙂 Just enjoy this :). Fragmented pala ang mga statements ko dito but anyway, this was how I felt back then, and despite my frustrations on being an auditor, I really enjoyed my teammates while working there, the audit culture in the Philippines was just making audit bad.


Do you know the feeling of being so frustrated to get out of something but you just can’t do anything but wait? I keep on wondering… Is it really worth the wait?

That feeling just doesn’t want to stop. You’ll feel all emotions – even being regretful.

Is being an auditor something worth while? Is it really worth your time, your efforts, and even your tears?

Yes! You receive the above minimum wage in the Philippines. How much would that be? Ten thousand pesos a month, not that high, though.

You meet different kinds of people – from very accommodating clients to the most annoying one, even a dementor – like superiors that could really suck up your strength and to very reliable friends that could really lift you up.

You practice your profession – being a CPA, a public accountant, an external auditor – but how long should you practice?

You learn new things!?! Really?!? Or you just have to study again because you already forgot you undergraduate courses, all SFAS, GAAP, GAAS, IFRS etc. etc. etc.?

You have an edge to apply abroad – this is true if you really want to look for opportunities there… But may be not for me!!!

Opportunities for growth… “You have to climb your own ladder… It’s a partnership, everyone has a chance…” Yeah right!

Oh no! You have to work on holidays! Luckily, for the two busy seasons that have passed, I haven’t worked during holy weeks and Christmases. But some really have to do inventory counts during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Some need to forget Jesus’ sacrifices because they still have to finish the financial statements and ITR’s of their clients during holy week (walang penitensya sa audit or baka audit = penitensya).

You are underpaid! Ten thousand pesos a month, plus over times and out-of-pocket expenses… So about fourteen thousand pesos a month, net – but take note! You have to work for at least 60 hours a week to earn that. Pay-to-effort ratio is very low.

Opportunities for growth?!? Really?!? Why can’t I feel that… Doing audit for exactly 22 months now, where the hell am I? Do I have greater responsibilities now? Some people allow you to feel that responsibility, the opportunity to grow, to be on a higher level, but under some circumstances, you have to stop! You have to stop from climbing your own ladder, you even have to take some few steps back… Is this an opportunity for growth… I don’t think so!

This growth will only be realized when someone from your team decides to leave – to resign. But everyone else would like to stay – they have their own goals and I have mine as well. I’ll take my chances, may be one of us must leave. May be and I really do hope that it would be me.

Some of your superiors are abusing their powers – may be this can’t be prevented in the corporate world! (This is a way to welcome us guys in the corporate ladder!) I can handle that but you know what’s hard to accept?!? Some people would really try to pull you down. You’re doing good, you know that you give your best, someone could even attest to that… but hey! No! There’s no appreciation! No remarks! Nothing!

What? Now, is audit really worth your while?

However, when you continue your career in audit for ten to fifteen years you will definitely become a partner – the question is, would you take the risks? Twenty two months is really a god damn waste – may be these words are too harsh but when I think about it, I really don’t like the nature of my work!!!

Audit in the Philippines… you need to be very “makulit”, NOT assertive but MAKULIT, to the point that some clients get pissed off just to be able to obtain the documents/samples you need to do your tests of controls and substantive procedures.

You do all of your clients’ financial statements, disclosure, and even their tax payments for the period, this includes the preparation of ITRs, of course. Is this still under the scope of Generally Accepted Auditing Standards and our Philippine Standards on Auditing?!?

You have to shift from client to client, do humbug documentations, perform unnecessary procedures because they just say so (What? Defend? Complain? Oh well, most of the time, an associate auditor would just end up doing what they really think is/are unnecessary after having a debate with his/her superior).

Being skeptic, looking for incorrect entries, internal control deficiencies, determining accounting policies that are not GAAP – I hate it! I’m just not that! I think this is a matter of personality and I’m not the kind of person who looks and searches for errors. I’m just not comfortable with it. Recommending improvements is one thing but finding faults is different.

Your output – financial statements. It’s absolutely a great feeling whenever you see the release of the bound financial statements of your clients (no objections to this!). It erases all your hardships, exhaustion, weariness – all that. But I’m sure I can and will still experience this fulfillment elsewhere.

I’m not a good auditor… And definitely I’m not meant to be one…

One must really have to go… One has to leave… As I’ve said, I’ll take my chances (not with this firm and audit, definitely!)

Then again, “that feeling” – an indescribable one just doesn’t want to stop. No more sense of fulfillment! No more growth! No more happiness! No more enjoyment!

Just frustrations and disappointments! These are my signals to leave!!!

– isinulat noong April 17, 2006

p.s. I resigned from audit a couple of weeks after writing this.