Finding the joy in the audit

First Monday back to work after over two weeks away from Christmas vacation and I was honestly skipping and bright-eyed over the month of auditing ahead of me!

“Yup,” I said at our Monday staff meeting. “I am so excited for our yearly audit. It will be fun.”


Peers rolled their eyes and said just wait.

In my previous life as an operations manager in a restaurant I got to deal with finances in bits and pieces, and audits were intimidating and so out of my realm of comprehension. Since my bookkeeping certificate and taking two years of schooling, my head gets the big puzzle of audits now. When an opportunity came in the summer of 2014 to join United Way’s financial world, I knew I had hit the jackpot of learning finance skills, but didn’t realize how fabulous it would be until I got to dive into their books.

School sets you up for the world of perfect ethical accounting principles, and warns you of grey areas and how to meet all standards as best you can. But, we all know that in the real world of business deadlines, curve balls and relying on other people can make 100% textbook accounting impossible. Well, I found a textbook scenario and it makes this Type A, rules to be followed kind of girl very happy.

United Way preaches the importance of transparency, and I can attest to the fact that it is followed through meticulously. Procedures are in place and committed to by everyone. The hard part in finance is that you are not solely responsible, a lot is dependent on everyone taking care of their part. I got to walk into an environment where every dollar is respected and treated very seriously; no receipts get lost, the budget is always considered and approval procedures are never forgotten. Imagine the joy when an auditor asks for a source document and it takes me just a moment to open a file cabinet, go to the exact file and pull out the requested paper.

As a mom I can relate it to the fantasy of having the house so perfectly organized that there is never a struggle of finding that little shoe for a doll, or knowing where to store another random object that has no place. At work, this dream world is a reality and once a year I get a month to show off the perfection of our system, which I find extremely satisfying.

Sadly our audit is over and I stand by my initial reaction of audits being joyful. The discipline the team has all year round diffuses all the possible pressure over our grading during the audit. I am the lucky one to be the middle person who can strut and show off the team’s honest and hard work.



Author: Jaime Dowling

Jaime Dowling is currently the Finance and Database Coordinator with United Way of Fort McMurray and is in the process of completing her bookkeeping certificate with Niagara College. Jaime took a two year hiatus to take care of her little girl and previously was part of the community investment team with United Way. Jaime has been in Fort McMurray for almost five years and says that getting the career opportunities with the United Way family has made the community feel like home. Jaime was born and raised in Vancouver, BC and has twelve years’ experience in the hospitality industry through restaurant management. Jaime has a Liberal Arts degree with Douglas College and Business management with BCIT. When you don’t catch Jaime crunching numbers at United way or supporting the Campaign you will probably find her cooking something new and hanging with her family.