In preparation for sharing my thoughts on Auditor Proud Day, I got in touch with other auditors to gather some initial ideas. Auditors from different continents, from small firms and from very large ones, partners who have been working in the profession for years and staff who have only just started, men and women. The result of this short survey pretty much confirmed what I had feared. Some said they had no idea, some smiled nervously. Some asked me if I was joking given our reputation in the media and our constant scrutiny by regulators. My fellow auditors displayed a variety of different reactions and feelings. One thing was clear, however: Pride was not one of them. Many did not even know that Auditor Proud Day existed or why it could possibly be useful. For someone in my role, simply saying that we’ve got it all wrong and nobody is proud of our profession did not seem a very adequate response. So I thought back to when I started my career. I still very clearly remember the beginning of my training contract with a mid-tier accounting firm at the end of 1999: The great sense of satisfaction when I received the offer letter (we had been 2000 applicants for roughly 20 places), the pride of working in the City of London in a career which was very well regarded. And yet at the time, everything was simple compared to nowadays. Every audit team only had one laptop, we did not have any Internet access or emails and still wrote up trial balances by hand. Going to clients involved crossing London by tube or even going to different cities carrying large heavy bags containing the many paper files. But we were proud to carry those bags with our firm’s logo. So proud that they were even used on holiday just to show where we belonged.
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