I didn’t realise how many benefits there were to being an auditor in an intelligence agency. It’s not just the pride you get from doing the role – it’s the impact it has on your life. I was working in the commercial sector before I joined, and I was so used to working all sorts of hours. I could feel my laptop staring at me from across the room – it was just constant pressure.
The culture here really values having a ‘work-life’ balance. The organization and the team do not just pay this lip service. Flexi-time has been life-changing. Your workload really is yours to manage. So now I get to spend more time with my family, and I get more out of my working day.
I worked in the private sector before I came here, so I did take a slight salary cut. But the great pension and work-life balance more than make up for it. Not to mention the training. We get to know the agencies – exactly what they do and how they do it. And you’re always supported to work on your soft skills or even work towards professional qualifications. The learning never stops.
As auditors in the intelligence community, we focus on the riskiest parts of the business. But before I assess any high-impact risks, I need to understand exactly what’s involved. So I spend a lot of time getting to grips with exactly what our people do and what the mission is. I’ve even had the chance to shadow actual operatives, as it’s just the best way of getting to know the process.
Day-to-day, I work across a range of departments and I audit a range of projects. I might assess Agent Running Compliance one week, and assess Digital Contagion risks the next. No matter the project, I’m out and about meeting people and learning about different challenges. It’s great to get away from my desk and engage with others.
Every agency has a slightly different focus, but no matter who I’m supporting, I’m always analysing information and solving problems. I have a really big impact on the agencies’ work to keep the country safe.
We’re also encouraged to follow up on our projects and see what impact we’ve had. I love how much variety and independence I’m given, and I love that I’m helping to protect the UK. I never imagined I’d have such a rewarding role and impactful role in audit.
We audit really serious risks, so everyone really appreciates our work. We get to spend time with senior stakeholders and we’re often the first ones to be invited to a meeting. I always feel really valued by everyone across the agencies.
It’s such a supportive environment – everyone pulls together and is really happy to help out. We’re all motivated by the fact we’re protecting lives, not money. And, because of the complexity of what we do, we all ask each other for advice and trust each other’s opinions.
To be an auditor here, you have to love learning. Technology is the biggest risk we face, so we proactively keep up with innovations and changes. It’s the only way we can ask the right questions and challenge in the right places. Everyone’s dedicated to doing to the best work we can and getting the best outcomes. I’ve never worked with such talented and committed people before – it’s really inspiring.