Why Audit? An Interview with Grant Roger, Audit Partner at Johnston Carmichael

Professional Services Consultant, Fraser Burnett recently caught up with Johnston Carmichael Audit Partner, Grant Roger in the next instalment of our ‘Why Audit?’ interview series.


1. Why did you pick a career in audit?

I completed an Accountancy degree at University and wasn’t 100% sure what my next step was until I started attending the careers fairs and speaking to all the firms that offered CA training as part of a graduate training contract. I saw audit as a great opportunity to work with a broad spectrum of different businesses, across different sectors, and train for my CA at the same time.

The graduate role in audit also offered the opportunity for progression during the training contract through each year, which really appealed to me.

I trained at a Big 4 firm, so the other real incentive was the potential opportunity to work overseas and internally transfer globally within audit, which I then did later in my career.


2. What have been some of your career highlights?

I’ve had a lot of highlights in my now 21 year career in Audit.

As a graduate trainee, one of the highlights is the peer group you join and share those early years with, be it socially or at training, and support through the professional exams. I remain in touch with many from that peer group to this day, even though many of us have moved on to other roles since.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the majority of my clients throughout my career. They each have their own complexities and challenges, and you always learn from job to job and year to year. A couple of personal highlights from client experiences would be the tour of a sawmill in Northern British Columbia, or a trip to a client close to the Alaskan border, as well as working on a client recently through their journey from private company to AIM listed company.

I even enjoyed all those stock counts as a trainee! I managed to count suits and clothes at a flagship retail store in Regent Street, and go around the same client’s main warehouse with a scanning gun!

As alluded to above, one of the major career highlights for me was the 5 years I spent working in Vancouver, which I don’t talk about much – just ask my Johnston Carmichael audit colleagues!… Being there for the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2011 Canucks Stanley Cup final run, learning to ski, and getting in some amazing family trips too, alongside a great work experience on some large, multi-location corporate audits, was fantastic.

And finally, becoming Partner at Johnston Carmichael is a key highlight of mine!


3. Why should people consider a career in audit?

If you are looking for a steady 9-5 job that is predictable and stays the same over the longer term then Audit is not for you, and I say that as a positive.

A career in audit is a career that is constantly developing and challenging, and you get such significant personal growth through the early years, gaining a CA qualification through to career progression up the ranks. In my experience, many of my former colleagues who have left audit often find themselves in jobs where progression relies solely on individuals in more senior roles being promoted or changing jobs in order for you to earn a promotion. A career in audit can be what you want it to be, but if you are good enough, you can progress within the same firm; from graduate to senior / supervisor and onward to manager / senior manager, and ultimately to Partner, if that is what you want longer term.

Even if audit is not for you in the long term, starting a career in audit is a great foundation for a career in business as you get the chance to work with such a broad range of clients and develop wide business experience that can be invaluable for later in your career. I was never sure if I would be in audit longer term – my plan was to get my CA and then re-assess, yet here I am, 21 years later still enjoying Audit!


4. The changing landscape of audit brings its challenges. However, what do you think are the key opportunities within audit?

There is a lot of opportunity in audit. The regulatory environment is constantly changing so there is always the opportunity to learn new standards and support our client base as these evolve over time.

There are also lots of opportunities in the market to work on exciting clients and get involved in proposals as companies look to rotate audit firms, either mandatorily or for good corporate governance.

Looking ahead, there is a significant continuing focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in the UK including the reporting requirements here, as well as the potential impact on the audit profession, regarding what is and is not subject to audit. This is a prime example of how the regulations develop over time, leading to a career in audit continuing to be interesting and constantly challenging.


5. What one piece of advice would you give someone who is starting a career in audit?

Take every opportunity to learn from your peers and those above you who have been in your shoes. You will learn so much in those early years by being inquisitive and showing a genuine interest in your clients’ businesses.

I’d also say, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Use them as a learning experience, as we’ve all been there and “every day is a school day”. I am still learning to this day.

And try to have some fun whilst doing it!


If you have any questions about this ‘Why Audit?’ interview series, or you would like to get involved and share your thoughts on the Audit function, please contact [email protected].