Seven great reasons to travel with an auditor

ernst and young building
Ernst & Young – With credits:

Mention the word “auditor” and the image of a number-loving office worker punching numbers into the calculator until the wee hours of the night comes into mind. You would think that the hectic schedules of auditors would make them less than ideal travel partners, compared to marketing folks who have the chance to wine and dine all over the world while pushing out their regional marketing campaigns.

But I had the good fortune of travelling with two auditors on multiple trips, and I must say, they’re a big asset to travel with. If you have the chance, do acquire them immediately.

With my unqualified opinion on this topic, I hereby present you, seven great reasons to travel with an auditor.

1. Travel with an auditor and you’ll never fear getting cheated by money changers. 

I’m not sure about you, but I’m a klutz when it comes to counting foreign currency denomination bills. It takes me a good three minutes to re-count the amount of money the moneychanger has given me, and it has been proven that my auditor travelling buddies effectively take half the time.

2. Travel with an auditor and you’ll never get lost in timezones and miss your train. 

The Trans Siberian passes through 8 different timezones, and it was challenging trying to figure out the train timetables. Thankfully, in Irkutsk (a city in Russia), my auditor companion was quick to spot that the train timings were in Moscow time, which was five hours behind. With a quick snap of fingers, he was able to determine the train departure time rather instinctively. Trust me, you do not want to reach the train station only to find out that your train will be departing five hours later.

Deloitte – With credits:

3. Travel with an auditor because they are excellent luggage packers. 

You never have to worry about not being able to pack everything in your luggage. It’s a #truestory. I discovered this by accident. Be it packing SGD300 worth of Laneige products, a flower vase and a pair of boots into a mid-sized luggage, or two bulky down winter coats and two sleeping bags in a 40 litre backpack, you name it, The Auditor will always find a way to fit it in.

40litre backpack
A 40 litre backpack with two down coats and two sleeping bags

4. Travel with an auditor because they always come prepared 

If you’re the forgetful type who is always leaving your charger, adapter and toothpaste behind, The Auditor is bound to have one of those. My Friend S brought Leatherman knife on the Trans Siberian train journey, which acted as a can-opener, nail clipper, apple peeler and bread knife.

pricewaterhousecoopers businessweek
PwC – With credits:

5. Travel with an auditor because they would have nailed down the planning for the trip way in advance. 

I’m a little bit embarrassed to say this, but most of my planning done for trips is on the plane. When the plane is 41,000 feet in the air, I’ll pop open my little guidebook and start ticking off the places I want to go. I was so hands off that several years ago, I’d wait until I got to my destination before deciding on where to stay for the night.

Therefore, my astonishment was only natural when Friend H suggested using an excel sheet to plan for our trip to Korea. Using her very nifty screenshot tool, screenshots of airline tickets, hotel bookings and sights soon populated the spreadsheet a matter of minutes. I still remembered gaping with a half-open mouth when she formatted the cells to look like those found in the balance sheet of financial statements.

auditor excel sheet
An example on an auditor’s excel sheet used for planning trips ; )

Friend S took things to a whole new level. I guessed he had to because it was planning for the Trans Siberian, and planning was paramount. Just like Friend H, he used a spreadsheet, only this time it had several more tabs, of a calendar, budget list, hotel, transport and sight-seeing. The budget list even contained currency conversion rates for each column, much to my convenience 🙂

russian alphabet

6. Travel with an auditor because they have an uncanny ability to decipher the characters of non-English letters. 

It’s a strange observation but the two auditors I travelled with breezed through the reading of Korean characters and the Russian Cyrillic alphabets quite easily. While I was staring at the metro signboard trying to make out the characters, I received a “come Phebe, let’s go” in a matter of seconds. It’s all very effective. I’m guessing this attention to detail comes from the time spent scrutinising the profit and loss statements of clients.

KPMG – With credits:

7.  Auditors are a hardy lot 

It’s a broad assumption, but I guess that anyone who can work consecutive 2am nights for months is hardy in his own right. He/she probably has the mental and physical stamina to deal with a crisis, or at least be well-adjusted not to breakdown, cry or whine, or demand to return home immediately when in a difficult situation. If you’re thinking of travelling extensively in China, I’ll suggest you acquire an auditor who has worked on China jobs to go with you. If that’s not possible, sit down with him/her for a pep talk. It will be very helpful.

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Practical reasons aside, I can think of a whole lot of reasons why you should travel with auditors. Maybe it’s good fortune that my auditor friends are sensible, fun “assets”, and travelling with them sheds a different light on the destination as well. That being said, it’s not always easy, for me and for them, (especially when my slew of unfolded clothes and underwear starts to intrude their space). It’s always a give and take. But a worthwhile one indeed.

Have you travelled with an auditor before? Did you have an unqualified or adverse opinion? Or have disclaimers to make? Do share your thoughts in the comment box below ; )

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