5 in-demand soft skills for auditors you need to know aboutHere are our thoughts on what employers are looking for in the strongest audit candidates.
In this heavily digital age, it's undeniable that technology has become an integral part of the auditing process, streamlining tasks, and enhancing efficiency. However, while a blend of top-notch auditing skills and technological adeptness is essential, they’re not the sole competencies auditors need to thrive. In the world of auditing, there are several soft skills that will make a candidate stand out.
So, what are they? Here are our thoughts on what employers are looking for in the strongest audit candidates.
(1) Stellar communication skills
As per the KPMG/Forbes Insights report ““Audit 2025”, which surveyed 200 respondents, communication tops the list of skills sought by employers in an auditor.
Communication’s not just about conveying thoughts and ideas effectively, it’s also about having the ability to articulately share a clear point of view on issues. This skill is crucial during meetings, presentations, interviews, and negotiations with stakeholders, both internal and external. In fact, 62% of KPMG/Forbes’ respondents valued this ability to articulate a clear point of view, a significant jump from 46% two years earlier.
(2) Interpersonal skills
There’s no point being an excellent communicator if you can’t build rapport with people. And that’s precisely why ‘interpersonal skills’ is next on our list of top soft skills for auditors.
Despite all the expert know-how, auditing is fundamentally a people profession, so exceptional people skills are a must for auditors. Empathy enables auditors to understand the stakeholder’s perspective as the audit operation progresses, and the ability to build relationships with colleagues and stakeholders is key too. Additionally, active listening - often referred to as the "80/20 rule" in financial services - is another crucial aspect of mastering interpersonal skills in an audit role.
(3) Emotional intelligence
Auditors are often responsible for partnering with stakeholders who may be anxious about the outcome of an audit. This is where emotional intelligence comes into play and employers love it when auditors can demonstrate this quality. A study by the International Journal of Auditing carried out in 2018, found that emotional intelligence improves audit quality, as it helps auditors maintain composure and focus under pressure.
In an article written by Saurabh Gill, a manager at KPMG, he advises “…[people] feel that auditors would endanger their career and would endanger the way they work. So, the first step really is to understand the auditee properly. Understand the reasons why things are the way they are. Understand the culture and systems around in place. Have the necessary empathy to absorb what you see…”.
Emotional intelligence will really help you to engage with stakeholders and complete your role efficiently, compassionately, and professionally.
(4) Curiosity (challenging the norm)
Curiosity is another important attribute for any successful auditor! And here’s why.
As an auditor, if you can practice the process of questioning information instead of simply accepting it at face value, you’ll be far more effective in your role. Sure, curiosity and challenging the norm takes strength of character, but it’s a skill that will help you (and your business) to avoid shortcuts and re-examine facets of the audit if anything seems amiss.
(5) Critical thinking and business acumen
As you’ll be all too aware, an auditor's role involves lots of objective analysis and evaluation of information. Critical thinking skills are vital for dissecting complex systems, processes and financial information, identifying patterns and anomalies, and drawing meaningful conclusions.
Additionally, having business acumen allows auditors to connect the dots and apply their own experiences to assist clients. It’ll allow you to understand the wider business environment, industry trends, and the impact of financial decisions on a company's performance.
Together, critical thinking and business acumen equip auditors with a powerful combination of macro and micro insights, enabling them to provide valuable recommendations and ensure the integrity of the organisations they’re auditing.
While technology has revolutionised auditing, the human element still remains irreplaceable. These essential soft skills work collectively and continuously to ensure the overall success of an audit. In an age of rapid technological advancement, auditors who hone these skills will find themselves well-equipped to navigate the evolving landscape of their profession.
Do you have the key skills required to take the next step in your auditing career? Check out our latest auditing roles or feel free to upload your CV and one of our consultants will be in touch. Alternatively, contact us today to chat through your options.