Audit Scientist

If you like research and innovation, care about making a difference in the lives of Albertans, you value work life balance and you enjoy novel and transformative work, then joining Professional Practice as an audit scientist could be your most rewarding move.

The Professional Practice team is responsible for delivering and advancing audit methodology to enable relevant and reliable financial statement and performance audits at a reasonable cost. Reporting to the Principal, Professional Practice, the audit scientist is responsible for research and development regarding how we can take advantage of new approaches, techniques and technologies to transform the audit process.

You will be responsible for setting up and continuously maintaining a portfolio of innovations to be examined for audit use.  The innovations may arise from your original thinking, academic research, or cutting edge companies and technologies. You will need to pick the most promising ones for additional research and evaluation.  Strong judgment and business acumen is needed in being able to determine when an innovation has been researched sufficiently to make a go/no go decision on whether further development of the innovation, or eventual deployment, is promising. You will need to be able to scope out and set up and run an appropriate research environment and innovation lab to do this work.

This role requires solid understanding of audit standards and methodology and insight into emerging audit innovations. By proactively and creatively foreseeing trends, opportunities and risks you will help incorporate tomorrow’s techniques into today’s audits, making our audits more effective and efficient.  Developing effective relationships with academics, researchers and advanced companies will be necessary to maintain cutting-edge knowledge, spur creativity, and identify innovations for further research.  Being original in identifying and thinking about new ways to audit will be important.  You need to be courageous to test the most novel audit innovations, persevere when they don’t work, judge when to continue with research, and be able to carry over the most feasible and promising ideas from laboratory to field use by audit teams, promoting their use through support, communication, thought leadership and enthusiasm.


Responsibilities and Activities

Innovation identification and evaluation

  • Sets up and continuously maintains a portfolio of potential audit innovations to be researched  
  • Identifies new ideas, techniques and technologies that may improve our audits, researches their effectiveness and identifies most promising ones for further development and/or deployment
  • Assists audit teams with development (piloting) to field test innovations and evaluate whether they work in practice
  • Maintains connections with academics, universities and advanced companies to identify innovations for further research, including developing joint research and development initiatives
  • Maintains a broad understanding of the principles of audit standards and audit management


Innovation deployment and support

  • Supports and implements deployment of innovations
  • Maintains and improves audit methodology, guidance material, manuals, and templates to incorporate innovations
  • Supports the development of training material and the delivery of training sessions to support innovations                        
  • Identifies educational/training gaps related to competencies/areas of practice weakness, and contributes to the development of training strategies, such as directing professional education and development initiatives to support deployment of audit innovations
  • Presents at audit forums and training sessions
  • Provides consultation and expertise to audits regarding use of innovations


Required Qualifications

  • CPA designation with a university degree in business or computer science
  • 2-3 years’ experience developing and deploying methodology, supplemented by
  • 3-4 years’ experience in financial statements audits and performance audits
  • Experience with ERPs, extracting data from ERPs, and tools for value-added analyses
  • Experience with using data analytics to generate insights auditors can use, including experience with statistical techniques, artificial intelligence, modelling, visualizations and non-traditional means of collecting audit evidence
  • Knowledge of emerging technologies
  • Well-networked with academics, research institutions, accounting firms, and advanced technology companies


Skills and experience which would be considered assets:

  • Public sector audit experience
  • Internal audit experience
  • Masters or PhD
  • Experience with using artificial intelligence for auditing
  • Ability to manage complex projects, think logically in order to troubleshoot, analyze situations, and make appropriate decisions
  • Ability to identify and define audit problems to research
  • Ability to read and interpret complex and/or unfamiliar technical documents, academic research, and company brochures
  • Originality, disruptive and creative thinking
  • Business acumen and judgment to select most promising innovations for further development
  • Writing thought leadership on results of research (either presentations to auditors internally, or external audiences, or academic publications)