Employer profile

National Audit Office

Updated: November, 2022

About National Audit Office

Change your world

Chartered Accountancy – graduate professional training scheme

Who is the NAO?

As the UK’s independent public spending watchdog, they support Parliament in holding government to account. They improve public services through their high-quality audits. In challenging times, it remains vital that Parliament is well supported in scrutinising the performance of government - and rarely have there been more challenging times.

Whilst they deliver their financial audit work in the same way as an audit firm, their position is unique. Their work is extraordinarily influential. Their work auditing nearly £2 trillion of public expenditure and income gives them great insight into how government manages its money. Their ambition is to make greater use of this insight to help improve the management of public finances and risks to delivering public services.

What is the role?

The three-year Graduate Accountancy Scheme will equip you with the Chartered Accountancy qualification and membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). By joining the NAO and achieving a prestigious qualification as a Chartered Accountant, you will build a rewarding and fascinating career. You will make an impact that you and the nation will benefit from - developing your skills as a professional, a manager and a leader. You will be equipped for a fantastic career.

What will I do?

Alongside working towards your Chartered Accountancy qualification as an Assistant Auditor, you will work with a wide range of clients, including central and local government.

You will start out as a team member supporting NAO’s core financial audits and will gradually get to work on bigger audits and more complex projects, taking the lead as you develop your skills and confidence. Whilst working mainly on financial audits you’ll also have the opportunity to be involved in a range of their other work – including support for Parliament, investigations, and their larger value for money studies and programmes which result in high-profile reports to Parliament that often make the headlines.

Why should you apply?

Alongside doing varied work with an unrivalled network of high-profile clients, you’ll have access to a supportive and sociable peer group to help you gain career success. They also provide a competitive salary, which includes annual pay increases and additional payments when you pass each exam stage. Your salary upon ICAEW qualification (which usually takes three years for Graduates) is more than £55,000 a year. They also offer other attractive benefits including:

  • Fully funded ACA qualification and ICAEW membership subscriptions
  • 35 days’ holiday (including public holidays)
  • Fully paid 25 weeks study leave in block release
  • Civil Service pension scheme
  • Opportunities to take responsibility early in your career
  • An excellent system of support from NAO colleagues, including a ‘buddy’ from our more experienced trainees

Don’t expect to spend a lot of your time at your desk. Their trainees get involved in all kinds of projects that get them out in the field to all kinds of places across the UK, and sometimes even further afield. You’ll get to work out on clients’ premises where you can see how their businesses really work and how they can improve.

Who will I work with?

In their open, inclusive, and modern working environment - which places a huge emphasis on team working, collaboration and knowledge-sharing you’ll work with, learn from, and coach all kinds of people.

The NAO’s ambition is to be an exemplar organisation for D&I, one that others look to learn from. They want colleagues to feel confident being themselves and to see the NAO as a fantastic place to develop their career. Their four-year D&I strategy (2021-2025) focuses on four key priorities, one of which is to proactively strengthen the diversity of their pipeline.

Who are they looking for?

There is no such thing as a typical NAO Graduate Trainee. Successful candidates come from a diverse range of backgrounds and degree subjects. They do, however, have some minimum criteria you will need to meet:

  • 120 UCAS points (300 based in pre-September 2017 tariff) or equivalent from your top three A-level grades (or equivalent). General studies does not count. If you have 104 UCAS points (280 UCAS points on pre-September 2017 tariff) or equivalent, you may be eligible to apply so please email HRServiceDesk@nao.org.uk for further details.
  • You must be a UK National, National of Commonwealth countries who has the right to work in the UK; or Nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with (or eligible for) status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

How do I get further information?

If you have any queries, please contact their recruitment team

Work sectors

accountancy, banking and finance


London, Newcastle upon Tyne

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