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Hiring Audit Assistants: 'Do not be late if you want to hire a graduate'
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The auditing profession is a popular career choice among business graduates, and the Big N firms hire large cohorts of audit assistants every year. The auditing profession is special in the way that it has a defined career ladder, as well as a high employee turnover rate. The hiring process involves contact both with the HR department and auditors from the operating business. Since the audit assistants are not expected to have great technical knowledge at the beginning of their employment, other things than the actual auditing skills must be tested during the hiring process.  

In prior research, studies have been conducted from the perspective of the applicant, rather than the organizational perspective. There has been relatively little research on the recruitment of auditors, and most research has been conducted in another context than a Swedish one. The research question used for this thesis is: How do audit firms hire entry-level audit assistants, and what profile is desired by the HR department and the operating business?  

The main purposes of this study are to explore the hiring process and what profile is desired, from both the HR department’s perspective and the operating business’ perspective. The study is qualitative, and the data was collected through semi-structured interviews with delegates from the largest audit firms in Sweden. The sample consisted of eleven informants including seven auditors and four recruiters. 

The empirical findings suggest that the Big N firms in Sweden hire through a centralized HR-department, with a standardized process that is similar among all the firms. A lot of responsibility lies with the HR-department, but the auditors make the final determination if the applicant will fit into the group. The most important characteristics desired of an audit assistant are found to be social skills, team ability, and dedication, and these are assessed at the different steps of the hiring process. Finally, the findings suggest that the HR department and the delegates from the operating business of the HR firms agree on what profile they are looking for, however, there is no formal way of evaluating the hiring process in any of the firms.

The contributions of this thesis can be of use for various actors, for example audit firms when developing their hiring strategies, regulatory authorities when discussing the development of the industry and educational bodies and students when preparing for a career within auditing. From an academic perspective, this study can be used as a point of departure for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 109 p.
Keyword [en]
hiring process, audit assistant, personality, audit firms, auditing profession
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-137150OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-137150DiVA: diva2:1118197
External cooperation
Anonymous
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-06-30 Created: 2017-06-30 Last updated: 2017-06-30Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
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  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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