"You're an Auditor, Harry!" - Why being a trainee is like life at Hogwarts

Khofhid Govender
April 6, 2024
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Disclaimer: (this does not completely mimic reality and has just been written for comedic effect)

Now that I have thought about it, being an auditor is just like being a character that J.K Rowling would have created when she wrote the Harry Potter franchise.

An introduction: My love for all things Harry Potter started in about grade 2.

I won a colouring competition.

The prize was the first three Harry Potter DVDs (The Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and, my favourite, The Prisoner of Azkaban). Little me thought it was a lame prize, not knowing that at that very moment, I would lose my muggle* status.

Well, my muggle father initially thought I was watching 'demonic' movies.

But here I am, 18 years later, escaping reality, re-watching every movie and reading the beloved books.

'Artists rendering' of what Khofhid's winning masterpiece might have looked like

Enough reminiscing! And Let's unpack it.

Here's why life as an auditor is parallel to the wizarding world of Harry Potter:

Auditors and Attention to Detail 

It would be one and the same thing. With that said, who other than our very own Hermione Granger (insert Hagrid voice) displays this thoroughness and dedication to learning?

Similarly, auditors examine financial statements and nitpick on the adherence to IFRS/IAS and the Companies Act, to mention a few.

Fact: Hermione would call out someone who was not following the rules, very characteristic of an auditor.

Problem-solving skills

All of the Harry Potter works involve facing complex problems, requiring characters to come up wit creative solutions.

i.e. a Face against the Basilisk*, Escaping Gringotts* after getting the Horcrux* in the Triwizard* maze.

From challenging financial discrepancies or irregularities that necessitate innovative problem-solving skills to resolve.

My personal favourite is visiting a client at their premises who needs a signed AFS in a week but still needs to provide us with the PBC requests.

Auditors are modern-day wizards!

Alexa, play the Harry Potter theme song (No trainees were harmed in the making of these memes)

Ethical standards

HP Characters are frequently confronted with moral dilemmas.

Likewise, auditors must adhere to strict ethical standards and experience situations where integrity is paramount.

For example, in The Philosopher's Stone, The shy Neville Longbottom tries to stop his friends (who showed him kindness) from breaking about 100 school rules.

All because they snuck out that one night to find what was guarding the stone.

Neville overcame an internal ethical dilemma, a characteristic of a true auditor.

Risk management

Like Dumbledore in The Order of the Phoenix, auditors must be vigilant in identifying and mitigating risks in an organization's financial practices.

This includes assessing the potential impact of economic fluctuations, regulation changes and internal control weaknesses.

(Okay, maybe I am a bit too ambitious in calling my level of auditors that—we would most likely be "Dumbledore's army." We will leave "The Order of the Phoenix" to the senior managers and partners!)

Teamwork and collaboration

Just as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger rely on each other's strengths to overcome the dark forces, auditors often work as part of a team to conduct thorough audits and ensure accuracy in financial reporting.

In this case, Hermione would be the third-year trainee, Harry the second-year trainee, and poor Ron the first-year trainee.

And what do auditing standards and spells have in common? Tune in to the next part of the series to find out more!

Potions, Profits, and Potentials - It's like Hogwarts up in here!


Muggle - a person who lacks any sort of magical ability and was not born in a magical family i.e. do not have magical blood

Basilisk - In European folklore, a basilisk is the legendary serpent king, killing those who dare look into it's eyes

Gringotts - The only bank in the wizarding world

Horcrux - An object in which a wizard has concealed a part of their soul through magic, rendering them immortal until the object is irreparably damaged or destroyed

Triwizard Tournament - a contest held between the three largest wizarding schools of Europe: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Durmstrang Institute, and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic