Public accounting firms are professional organizations that offer various accounting, auditing and assurance services in the business marketplace. Firms may consist of several departments, depending on the accounting services they offer to clients, and most public accounting firms include an audit department. This department reviews a client’s financial information for accuracy, validity and timeliness. Accounting firms usually employ partners to find and retain clients, mange the audit department and engage in client audits when necessary.

Find and Retain Clients

Audit partners usually are the face of a public accounting firm’s audit department. These individuals are outgoing and friendly when attempting to bring new companies into the firm’s client portfolio. Audit partners are also highly educated and trained in various accounting topics, with several years of experience in the auditing field. Many times, accounting firm partners must act as salesmen when finding new clients. They attend business events, accounting seminars or other conferences as opportunities to extend their firm’s audit capabilities and gain new clients.

Audit partners also play an important role in retaining current clients. Partners will make personal and professional calls on clients to ensure that the accounting firm has completed audit tasks in a competent, professional manner.

Manage Audit Department

The audit partner also must manage the accounting firm’s audit department. This can be a daunting task, depending on the size of the accounting firm and the number of accountants employed in the audit department. Audit departments may be the largest department in the entire accounting department; large audit departments may use several partners as managers. Audit partners also may be in charge of hiring new employees and extending promotions or other advancements to current audit employees. Selecting audit teams for client engagements is also an important task of the audit partner.

Audit Team Engagement

While audit partners do not engage actively in the daily tasks of working a client’s audit, they work in tandem with their audit team when necessary. Partners generally meet with the client and introduce the audit team prior to the audit engagement. They periodically will check in with their audit team to ensure that deadlines are being met and that no significant issues have occurred during the audit. As the audit draws to a close, partners will review their team’s information and meet with their client in a final exit meeting. Outstanding issues from the audit will be corrected or followed up by the audit partner after the audit is closed out with the client.