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Meet an Audit Manager

September 01, 2023




Meet Jesse Porras, an Arizona CPA and an audit manager at Baker Tilly.

What do you do as an audit manager?

My main role is to make sure my audits and engagements are progressing and on track to be completed before their deadlines. Much of my day-to-day duties revolve around training staff and communicating with clients, while managing my external activities like being part of the ASCPA Board of Directors, recruiting and interviewing activities and other firm-directed initiatives.

What kind of clients do you work with?

My main client base is emerging software and technology companies. I also work with several professional service and manufacturing clients, while also being involved in employee benefit plan audits during the summers.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The part of the job I enjoy the most is training and teaching our audit team. I am also a “coach” for a few of our associates, and I have really taken a liking to helping them navigate their careers and personal lives while juggling the demands of working in public accounting.

I love contributing and maintaining the culture we have at Baker Tilly. Our people are the most important aspect of our business, and I like giving back to that culture so that others around me can thrive and reach their goals and full potential – Regardless of whether that future includes public accounting or not.

I also really enjoy interacting with our clients. I’ve been fortunate to have had some great clients to work with in all industries. In accounting, sometimes you forget there’s a face or person behind the number we stare at all day. So, being able to connect with them on a personal level helps me see where I can help them, and it makes it easy to collaborate to get the audit done. 

I’ve always felt like building relationships (both internal and external) is more important than any deliverable or service we can provide.

What kind of skills are most important for an audit manager?

As a public accountant/auditor, attention to detail is a must. Whether you’re doing the actual audit work or reviewing, paying attention to the little details will help you find things you may have missed.

Our job can feel like a big puzzle at times because we’re so focused on one area of the business of balance sheet, but I’ve gotten more proficient at being able to identify patterns or make connections from one area to another. 

It helps me to think like the client and put myself in their shoes so I can provide value and the best client service possible. I’ve gotten involved more in networking and business development on top of my audit duties, so soft skills are definitely needed the further you progress in your career.

Back when you were first deciding what area of accounting to pursue, what do you wish you had known about auditing?

I wish I had known that all the writing skills I neglected to learn during English class are necessary. There’s a lot more writing we do for people who are supposed to be focused on numbers. From client emails to documentation in our daily work to writing technical memos, it’s a skill I had to re-acquire when I jumped into my career.

I also wish I had known that there is a lot of gray area in accounting in which we operate in. Accounting problems are not always as clear-cut or black-and-white as they are presented in textbooks.

But that's also what's fun and challenging about what we do. We can interpret an accounting standard and apply it in different ways for a client’s specific situation and that's where you can bring value to your clients.