What it does: Keeps an eye on the public sector’s finances and performance
Staff stats: Around 350
The good bits: Great training, fascinating and important work
The not so good bits: Needing to get every detail correct
Hiring grads with degrees in: Sciences; Teaching, Education & Human Welfare; Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Finance, Accounting, Economics & Business Administration; Health & Medical Sciences; Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences; Law & Legal Studies; Property & Built Environment
The Australian National Audit Office story
One of the first things the new parliament did after Federation in 1901 was pass the Audit Act. This established the legal foundation for the appointment of an Auditor-General and the legislative basis for the auditing of the Federal Government and Australian Public Service. A Federal Audit Office was established in Melbourne in 1902 and moved to Canberra in 1935.
Over the last eight decades, the Audit Act has been first amended then superseded. Both the Auditor-General and what’s now called the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) have progressively acquired more scope to do things such as conduct efficiency reviews of government activities and gained more independence from the government of the day. Much as a business will have an auditor, the Federal Government has the ANAO to audit the financial statements of Commonwealth agencies, authorities, companies and their subsidiaries, as well as conduct performance audits of these entities.
As far as public service employers go, ANAO is one of the most prestigious. It reports to Federal Parliament and is located in the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. The ANAO has strong relationships with overseas audit institutions, including through delivering capacity building activities to the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia (BPK) and the Auditor-General’s Office of Papua New Guinea (AGO).
In layman’s terms the ANAO “seeks to improve public sector performance and accountability through independent reporting on Australian Government administration to the Parliament, the Executive and the public”. The ANAO’s work can have major impacts on government programs, policies, projects, systems and reporting.
The ANAO “is committed to promoting and supporting social inclusion, equity and diversity”. It seeks to do this by creating “a working environment that supports and encourages staff that have a range of skills and life experiences and different cultural and social backgrounds”.
The ANAO also a network of Diversity Contact Officers who aim to foster a supportive, flexible and fair work environment where differences between employees are respected and seen as an asset to the ANAO.
The ANAO has a role in ensuring that Australians’ tax dollars are spent as effectively as possible. The work you do will help to hold other Government agencies to account to ensure they are reporting accurately on their finances and that their programs are administered efficiently, effectively, and economically. This work can have a broad reaching impact on the way Government functions.
The recruitment process
ANAO’s grad program runs for 12 months and you’ll need to be based in Canberra to do it. Over the duration of the program, you’ll develop expertise in the various activities of the ANAO. You’ll also learn how to provide advice on the performance and financial management of government agencies. The program comprises “an intensive learning and development program, including technical, people management and general training and skill development”.
Applicants from any discipline are welcome to apply. However, the ANAO mainly employs those with accounting, finance, arts, management, law, social sciences, public administration, commerce and communication degrees. You’ll need to be an Australian citizen, or about to become one. You should also be an achievement-orientated self-starter with a good understanding of business and strong written and verbal communication skills.
The recruitment process begins with an online application. If your application makes the shortlist you will be invited to attend an assessment centre. Here you’ll have the chance to discuss your skill set, abilities, personal qualities and extra-curricular activities. After this come reference and security checks. If there are no red lights at this final stage, you could receive an offer.
Grads start on a salary of $60,966 but this goes up every year in line with their enterprise agreement. You’ll get generous super (15.4%) and leave entitlements, as well as flexible working arrangements if you need them. You’ll have the opportunity to work throughout Australia and possibly overseas. ANAO staff also have access to an extensive learning and development program and generous studies assistance after they complete of the program.
Rather than working for one public sector entity, at the ANAO you work with a range of them, gaining experience in a lot of different areas. As a result, you’ll develop a deep understanding of what informs government policy decisions. You’ll also get a big-picture perspective on how the Federal Government and Australian Public Service works. You’ll end up with valuable and transferrable skills that you can leverage to forge an interesting career in the public service or a lucrative one in the private sector.
The vibe of the place
The ANAO claims to have a “friendly, supportive corporate culture” and to provide “challenging work that is of benefit to the people of Australia”. Given you’ll be holed up in Canberra with everyone else doing the grad program, you can expect to do plenty of out-of-hours socialising.
From the Employer:
"At the ANAO, you’ll contribute to something bigger. We work across multiple Australian Government entities to ensure government programs, initiatives, policies and expenditure are working as efficiently and effectively as possible. We ask questions and get to the bottom of why things are the way they are. We suggest improvements to public administration that make a difference now and into the future.
Our graduates get the unique opportunity to see what other grads don’t! Our work helps them to understand how other Australian Government entities work, and what goes on behind the scenes in the public sector. As an ANAO graduate, you’ll learn how to analyse and report on the performance and finances of these entities, or how to support these functions.
As a graduate, we provide you with the support you need to develop your expertise in public administration. We’ll help you reach your full potential by providing you with extensive learning and development, equipping you with essential technical, leadership and people skills that will set you apart from other graduates.
We are looking for people with a diverse range of experiences, skills and perspectives who will add value to our core business.
The purpose of the ANAO is to drive accountability and transparency in the Australian Government sector through quality evidence based audit services and independent reporting to Parliament, the Executive and the public, with the result of improving public sector performance.
We review financial statements, analyse complex IT systems and conduct audits on various government policies, initiatives and programs to examine Australian Government use of public resources and administration of legislation passed by the Parliament.
We are a trusted partner of the Parliament and work in a fast-paced, dynamic sector where respect, integrity and excellence drives the way we work—these are also the core values we look for in our people.
Our clients are Australian Government agencies who rely on us to engage and communicate effectively so we can help improve the way they work.
Some of the things we do to achieve our purpose include:
- promote transparency on the effective use of taxpayers’ money through audits of procurement processes, contract management and grants management;
- assess program implementation and risk management in major areas of public investment, such as in Defence capability, large-scale infrastructure, such as the National Broadband Network, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and programs targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- audit financial statements and assess value-for-money and transparency.
Visit our website to find out more about our graduate program, the ANAO and how we work."