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Book Report: The Auditor - a Novella

By:   •  February 3, 2019  •  Book/Movie Report  •  2,458 Words (10 Pages)  •  884 Views

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Chapter 1: The Big Day

Chapter one begins with the introduction of the main character, Jack Butler. Jack attended Farwestern State University (FSU) and earned an MBA in accounting. He works in Oakland, California, at "The Firm." This chapter is shows Jack’s perspective on the big day of his possible promotion to partner. Jack is very anxious to start the day in anticipation of heading to the office to find out his fate. Two of Jacks colleagues, Don Parnell and Barb Gillespie, are the other candidates considered for partnership. The reader also meets Quentin Barnes who is known as "The Bear," and has been Jack's mentor since his employment at the firm. Due to Jack’s great relationship with Barnes, he receives the promotion over Don, Jack’s best friend. Barbara also gets promoted along with Jack to partner. The chapter ends with Libby and Jack agreeing to celebrate his promotion and Jack going out to lunch to celebrate with Barbara.

This chapter emphasizes the importance of personability and networking in your profession. Because of Jack's relationship with Barnes and his skills in client relations, he was able to obtain a promotion over his friend, Don, although Don’s technical skills were far better than Jack’s. This first experience for Jack shows students that while more money does come with promotions, there is also a greater level of responsibility associated with higher positions in firms.

Chapter 2: Celebration

Chapter two begins with Jack’s celebration lunch with Barbara. Barbra begins telling Jack about how female advancement in the workplace is more difficult and makes a clear example because 90 percent of The Firm’s partners are male. Compared to Jack, she has a law degree in addition to an MBA, and an additional year of experience. She feels that her promotion was delayed solely because she is a woman. She also shares a story about Stan Wright, a former audit manager, who once sexually harassed Barb at the office. Jack was surprised to hear this, but was impressed with the way she handled herself and demanded to be treated with respect.

This story brings to attention one of the problems women may encounter while in the industry. I have personally never been subject to sexual harassment in the workplace, but I have been subject to lower pay than a male coworker with the same qualifications. The chapter ends with Jack returning home and discussing the pros and cons of being a partner with his wife, Libby. Jack is looking forward to many of the perks, but is worried that the extra hours and responsibilities may affect his family life.

Chapter 3: School Days

Chapter three flashes back to Jack’s past, beginning with his high school years and his passion for golfing. He moves on to describe his college years and that he had intended to major in pre-law because his father was a lawyer, but he realized he was skilled at accounting and decided to go that route. Jack’s counselor, Wally Garner, was influential in his success and networking with other students played a large role in his decision to become a CPA.

Contrary to Jack’s situation, I think I was destined to become an accountant from about the fourth grade. My grandfather was a CPA and I admired him so much. I enrolled in my first accounting courses my junior year of high school and excelled in the class. You could say the rest was history for me!

Chapter 4: Get a Job

Chapter four begins with Jack in graduate school attending job interviews in hopes of being recruited. He attends “Meet the Firms Night” at his school to meet some recruiters. Out of his few interviews, this is where he meets Mr. Barnes. Jack impresses Mr. Barnes by answering his impromptu question about statistical sampling. He also explains how much risk they are willing to take when taking samples over testing the whole batch. At the end Mr. Barnes asked him for some pointers in golf and explains how he knows his father. Jack receives offers from two different firms, but ultimately chooses "The Firm."

This chapter adequately expresses the job search for most students. Obtaining a job in the ‘real world’ is not an easy task. It also shows that networking is one of the strongest tools in finding a job. My husband is an amazing networker and is actually the reason for my current job at a firm in Fort Worth.

Chapter 5: Getting Started

In this chapter, Jack begins his first day at The Firm. Here, Jack and his colleagues are introduced to “Bearisms,” which are a list of unwritten rules and sayings that The Bear (Quentin Barnes) has compiled over his years of experience at The Firm. Later, Jack travels to Michigan to The Firm’s national training center. After training, Jack is assigned to his first audit engagement in which he discovers two problems. He finds out that one of employees at the company was “borrowing” from the petty cash fund. She tells him that she is using it to support her children, but she always pays it back. The second problems occurs when Jack is taking measurements at the silos. The client is misstating inventory to make it seem like they have more on hand than they really do.

This chapter shows some common problems auditors might face on the job and the decisions they would have to make. Jack showed that although it was his first audit, he was going to make sure he did the right thing to address both issues. This gives a new auditor an idea of what to expect when you begin your career.

Chapter 6: We Are Family

Chapter six begins with the social outings at The Firm, which eventually led to Jack and Libby meeting through one of his coworkers. Chapter six portrays the importance of having a relationship with your coworkers, because in the accounting industry you must work as a team and have each other’s back. The chapter ends with Jack experiencing his first busy season. Jack speaks of learning the importance of organizational and administrative skills in order to survive the busy season. Looking back on his first year, Jack is proud of his work and states that he has learned a lot in his first year. The end of this chapter portrays to the student what to expect from an auditor’s first busy season. It also stresses the importance of time management and the ability to balance work and life.

The chapter brings up how you might find yourself in a situation where you could choose to be unethical but there are consequences to this choice. Such as Arthur misstating his timesheet for the work he was not doing, and how Sheldon was fired from his job because he did not want to comply with his supervisor and commit fraud. The chapter is a good look at busy season and how demanding it is of your time and brain power!

Chapter 7: The Growth Years

Chapter seven starts with Jack describing the typical hierarchy of a CPA firm. It also explains the turnover the rate at the company. Jack gets promoted in his second year due to the incident with Arthur in the previous chapter. Here, Jack acquires additional responsibilities and talks about staff evaluations. Jack also describes a few of the audits he was working on. He describes how The Firm has clients of both large and small companies, and the different aspects that are associated with each. One problem he was faced with in the text is that small-company clients are more sensitive to staff turnover than the large companies.

This chapter gives insight on how an accountant moves up through the hierarchy within a firm, as well as what could benefit an employee to accelerate their advancement.

Chapter 8: People Problems

Chapter eight deals with certain employees that Jack is not too fond of. The first one is Stan Wright, who overworked his staff, had unrealistic expectations, and encouraged dishonesty. The second ‘people problem’ was with Roy Shantz. On the audit, Roy did not include Jack in his meeting with the other partner and gave Jack some numbers to enter in that would produce profit. Jack trustingly signs off on the audit, but a few months later, he finds out that the company suffered severe losses and the company was bought out. Roy had been a friend of the owner and allowed him to get away with projecting revenues for the projects. Later, the company ended up going to court over these projects and Roy tried to make it look like Jack missed the issue in his audit.

This chapter shows that you may have to tolerate a coworker you don’t care for in order to complete a job. I was happy with the way Jack stood up to Stan and how he took care of the people he was supervising.

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