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Career News | Dec. 13, 2021

What Seasoned Employees Would Tell Their Former Selves

By DCAA Staff Writer

Every job has a learning curve that evens out with years of experience and on-the-job training. Auditing is no exception. Here’s what several seasoned DCAA professionals wish they had known as they reflect upon the beginning of their careers.

  1. It’s okay not to know everything right off the bat - DCAA employees quickly learn that the work differs from what they learned in school or did in other careers—and may worry that they need to know everything when they start. “You're not going to know everything the first day, or even the first year,” said Investigative Support Auditor Karyn Yanochko. “There's so much to learn, always changing, [so] don't be scared about not knowing everything.” Luckily, all DCAA auditors go through new hire training at our very own Defense Contract Audit Institute (DCAI) and participate in other training opportunities throughout their career.
  2. The value of technical skills - A few DCAA employees recalled the technical skills they wish they had developed prior to entering the industry. Knowing how helpful it is now, Auditor Chris Swanson noted, “I wish I would have studied to be more proficient at my Excel skills.” Other employees added that they would tell their former selves to further work on their technical writing skills or study more key auditing terms.
  3. The need to keep current - One of the most challenging aspects of my job would be keeping current. There is constant change in policies and regulations,” said Supervisory Auditor Corrine Kaufmann. Several employees noted how beneficial it is to stay up to date on these items, in addition to staying current on their professional skills by maintaining the DCAA value of continuous learning.
  4. Importance of asking questions- “I wish I’d known how important it is to seek help from your peers and supervisor. Their constructive feedback is designed to help you learn,” added Auditor Chris Swanson. One of DCAA’s main values is teamwork, which encourages employees to support one another. “I was surprised how easy it was to find help from other auditors. In my previous state agency, people would either be too busy to help, or wouldn't want someone else to get ahead,” noted Senior Auditor Alexander Taylor.
  5. Your impact - “Looking back, I would have liked to better understand each contract and how it impacts the government,” said Auditor James Johnson. New DCAA employees are often surprised by the variety of audits that they perform and the direct impact that they make. “We are making a difference for the protection of our warfighters with our DCAA audit services,” said Supervisory Auditor MaryAnn Abruzzi.