A construction auditor reviews financial and material records associated with construction projects for accuracy. This individual can be a third party called in to inspect documentation and offer an impartial audit opinion, or an employee within a company who conducts internal audits. These can include audits of projects the company is paying for to confirm that they are proceeding according to plan. Working in this field usually requires a degree in accounting or a related field, with experience in the construction industry, as this can be relevant to looking at documents associated with construction projects.
When companies commission a construction auditor, this person is usually given authority to inspect a wide variety of documents. These include bills and statements, invoices, and documentation on assets. Auditors look for several different things in these materials. They are concerned with overall accounting accuracy for legal and liability reasons, and may be particularly attentive to signs of fraud. These can include attempts to evade tax liability as well as indicators that someone at a company is embezzling or committing another form of financial wrongdoing.
Some things a construction auditor may check for can include materials paid for but never received, mismatches between records and what is on hand, falsified payroll records, and indicators that a project is going over budget. Auditors need to be familiar with the industry so they can accurately identify and evaluate assets, and check for issues like substandard construction materials. The construction auditor knows about common risks in the construction industry and can check for them while examining records.
Cost control as well as fraud prevention can be part of this job. In addition to looking at documents, a construction auditor can also meet with personnel to discuss the project with them. These can include engineers, foremen, and even individual workers, including people who want to provide tips and information about suspected financial misdoing. For example, a worker might be aware that a foreman is rerouting supplies to projects managed by another employer.
It may take weeks or months to complete an audit. When the construction auditor has carefully reviewed all the available information, the next step is the creation of a written opinion. This can note the steps taken and documents examined to come to a conclusion. The auditor may identify specific issues the company needs to address, such as indicators of false or outdated records. Auditors can also say that not enough information was available to make a definitive statement.