By law many companies and non-profit organisations must have their financial reports independently audited.

The external audit manager - who will be qualified with a body such as ACCA - is part of the professional team which completes the audit.

The external audit manager:

  • reports directly to a director or partner
  • thinks strategically about client needs
  • provides management over a portfolio of clients
  • is responsible for audit assignments
  • is responsible for audit teams across the portfolio.

Entry and progression

Working for an accountancy practice which performs audit work of various types, the audit manager are qualified individuals with a body such as ACCA with around six years’ experience of external audit.

ACCA develops the skills and knowledge required by forward-thinking professional accountants, including external audit managers.

Exam options

For those who work as an external audit manager, or aspire to be an audit manager, the most relevant exam options are:

Performance objectives

Remember it’s not just about exams. You need to have the right experience so that you are competent – you have the experience and knowledge – to start and continue your financial analyst career.

Performance Objectives (PO) which would provide great experience and must be signed off as part of the Practical Experience Requirement (PER) could include:


High level competencies required by an external audit manager include:  

  • Audit, Assurance and Advisory

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit, assurance and advisory engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to advisory, audit and assurance engagements

    C. Plans and prepares for audit, assurance and advisory engagements

    D. Performs effective audit and assurance engagements

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guides efficient and effective operations.

  • Governance, Risk and Control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

  • Leadership and Management

    A. Applies appropriate leadership strategies to effectively deliver business objectives.

    B. Leads, motivates and manages people to optimise performance and effectiveness.

    C. Collaborates, supports and works to achieve the objectives of the organisation, harnessing appropriate digital technologies.

    D. Acts proactively and thinks strategically, in anticipating organisational needs, recognising the wider business environment and dynamics.

  • Ethics and Professionalism

    A. Develops advanced ethical values and professional skills in the promotion of public interest and the profession.

    B. Demonstrates personal effectiveness in fast changing environments.

    C. Encourages innovative thinking within the context of professional scepticism.

    D. Thinks proactively about the future, applying professional judgement and commercial intelligence and seeks specialist input when needed.

    E. Communicates effectively and influences others.