Meet our people

Meet our people

 

The best way to find out what it's like to work at Audit Scotland is to meet the people who already do:

Zahrah

Zahrah Mahmood
Senior Auditor, Audit Services Group

I joined Audit Scotland shortly after graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University. With a BA Honours in Accountancy, I applied to join Audit Scotland’s graduate trainee programme. I’m now a Senior Auditor and also volunteer as a mentor as part of the ICAS professional mentoring scheme.

Read more about Zahrah

I work across a range of audits, including those of councils, integrated health and social care joint boards and the Scottish Qualifications Authority. The work itself is very rewarding: no day or week is the same as the previous, and the services and public bodies we audit have a day-to-day impact on the lives of many people.

The project I’ve been involved in that I found the most interesting was auditing the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Games were held in Glasgow, and as a Glaswegian I was seeing it in my home and all the hype around it. Then being part of that audit was just a really nice way to round it off.

One of the things I value about Audit Scotland is the flexibility to work in the ways that best suit you as an individual. And the support you get for you and the things that matter in your life, be that family, faith or volunteer work.


Peter

Peter Worsdale
Audit Manager, Performance Audit and Best Value

I was attracted by Audit Scotland's good reputation, and the opportunity to contribute to its high profile public  role. My job here seemed to follow naturally from my previous business improvement role in the public sector. Working in PABV in Audit Scotland means you also have to see the bigger picture of how organisations are working to improve the lives of people in Scotland. And developing clear findings on how well they do this is a challenging process.

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All audits are different. They may examine specific issues in detail, or take a broad look across a whole sector such as health or local government. Some audits can take you to fairly remote locations or cover a wide geographic area. One of my first audits was in Shetland – this gave me an insight into the different issues facing island councils, and not least the challenges of getting there in winter!

One of the most intensive parts of the job is the planning and preparation needed before going on-site. Another pressure point is preparing for the media release once we have made our findings – we can never be sure what details the press will pick up on or what angle they will take. We do our best to manage this, working with our media and communications teams to convey our messages and to anticipate what questions we may be asked. This is always an interesting process – and who knows - one day you may end up on Newsnight!


Fiona

Fiona McMillan
Trainee Auditor, Audit Services

I applied for a modern apprenticeship at Audit Scotland at a time when I was evaluating what I wanted to do with my life. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) as a teenager, and after a short period at university I had decided to focus on starting my career.

From my interview at Audit Scotland through to my daily work, I’ve received the support I’ve needed to do my job as comfortably as possible, and to work towards my vocational qualification. There’s never been any fuss about my needs or requests, and my line manager has been extremely helpful.

Read more about Fiona

When the Covid-19 pandemic started and we all began working from home, Audit Scotland were quick to provide me with all the equipment I needed. I got an occupational assessment, monitor and chair, and I can work flexible hours which suits me as I prefer to start work early in the day.

Audit Scotland does so much to support colleagues with a disability. I’m now a member of an internal group that’s working to improve the lives of all colleagues with a disability or health condition – whether that’s physical or mental – and raises awareness across the organisation.


Jillian

Jillian Matthew
Senior Manager, Performance Audit and Best Value

I was attracted to Audit Scotland by the opportunity to work in a national, high profile organisation and to help public services to improve. I enjoy the variety of the work and interaction with different people within the organisation and externally, within the public bodies we audit and the Scottish Parliament where we present our national reports.

Read more about Jillian

There isn’t really a typical day at Audit Scotland. You can come into work thinking you know what lies ahead and then something can come completely out of the blue that you have to deal with that can turn your whole day around. Some of the main activities my job entails are interviewing, background reading and research, analysing and making judgements on complex analysis, and report writing. Generally I work in Edinburgh and spend periods of time travelling around Scotland depending on the stage of a project.

Delivering projects on time, to quality and budget can be challenging. One of the most interesting and challenging audits I’ve worked on is a review of how patients are managed on NHS waiting lists across Scotland. It was a high profile audit that received a lot of media attention. We had to quickly respond to an area of concern and provide assurance to the Scottish Parliament and the public, and recommend areas for improvement.

People may be surprised to know we’re not all accountants at Audit Scotland, although a good understanding of public sector finance is essential. Our staff come from a variety of backgrounds from the public sector, research organisations and wider, which means there is a wide breadth of experience and knowledge across the organisation. The environment here is hard-working, yet with flexible working arrangements. Our audit work is constantly developing and evolving to reflect the external environment.


Inire

Inire Evong
Audit Manager, Audit Services Group

I joined Audit Scotland as a graduate trainee in 2008. The main attraction for me was the opportunity to contribute to the work of an organisation that had (and still does) such positive impact on the public sector in Scotland. Audit Scotland offered me a good opportunity to train and gain a professional qualification while getting valuable on-the-job experience with incredibly supportive colleagues. Even now, years after qualification, I find that my learning continues to broaden as the nature of the work that I do evolves.

Read more about Inire

Over the years, I have gained experience across the central government, health and local government sectors, and have worked on some high profile audits including the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body as well as some really interesting and complex audits such as NHS National Services Scotland. There is a lot of hard work and detail that goes into each piece of audit work and a great sense of fulfilment when the audits are signed off.

The work that I do on any day will depend on the stage of the audit that we are on and the client as well. On a typical day, I could be coaching and supervising junior colleagues, reviewing their work or discussing emerging issues at clients with senior colleagues and professional support. The culture at Audit Scotland is one that encourages you to give your best and continue to improve how we work.


Ross

Ross Hubert
Auditor, Audit Services Group

I joined Audit Scotland in October 2011, after being accepted on to their Professional Qualification Scheme.

The main attraction for me was the opportunity to build my career with an independent and influential public body but an additional incentive was the chance to become a CA with ICAS which would provide me with an internationally recognised qualification that would be highly portable should my career ideas or life plans change in the future.

Read more about Ross

I have always enjoyed investigating and analysing new things, something that I get to do regularly as part of my job as an auditor. For each audit area or audited public body you need to quickly build a thorough understanding of what is going on, which for some organisations is not immediately straightforward.

The challenging aspect of my work is then trying to reflect these complexities in a report which is sharp, concise and understandable to a wide variety of readers.

Over my time I have worked on a number of audits mainly involving the Scottish Government. I have had the opportunity to be involved in work examining the further devolution of financial powers to Scotland – something that I have found fascinating. It is a complicated and fast moving environment and one that is inviting a great deal of comment from across the political landscape.

It has been interesting trying to keep on top of all of it – making sure that you have considered all the angles before coming to a judgement.

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