Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General / Civil Service

Trainee Auditor

Rachel Cawley

My name is Rachel Cawley and I joined the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General as a Trainee Auditor in May 2017. I am currently working as a Trainee Auditor and completing my professional accounting exams.

I decided to begin my career with the Office as I wished to gain experience in auditing. The Office has a constitutional and statutory provision to report on what the government is spending. This was the ideal fit for me as I was very interested in public service accountability and providing oversight for members of the public.

What we do

The Office has a constitutional obligation to report to the Oireachtas and the Committee of Public Accounts in terms of oversight for government expenditure by audits. We also report on the examinations of economy, efficiency and effectiveness (‘Value for Money’) of government entities and financial management. For me, this was extremely attractive as I could gain knowledge from this professional and unique experience.

Within the Office, there are three divisions — Semi-State Financial Audit, Votes Audit (Government Departments) and Reporting. Initially, I was assigned to the Financial Audit Division of the Office and became part of a team that completed a number of audits on the accounts of large Semi-State agencies and Government departments.

Learning and Development

I am also learning a lot about the public sector and the many services provided to the citizens of Ireland by the government through the use of public services and public enterprises. In turn, I am also assisting in the process of providing the public with information on the efficiency of government expenditure.

The majority of the audits I have been assigned to are based in Dublin city centre, but there is the opportunity to travel too. The role involves meeting with department officials which is very people-orientated and requires strong analytical skills.

Within this team, I am given the support, guidance and mentoring needed to develop my professional and technical skills which have given me the opportunity to succeed from day one. The Office mentors you to develop professional, soft and technical skills, which I believe are transferable and will be extremely beneficial for my future career. It also provides a package which has assisted me in successfully passing the exams that I have taken to date. This package includes both financial support and paid leave.

One of the nicest things about working here is that you know your future is very much in your control. Not only are there obvious routes for upward progression, once qualified, but there are other opportunities too.