An external auditor is a public accountant who conducts audits, reviews, and other work for his or her clients. An external auditor is independent of all clients, and so is in a good position to make an impartial evaluation of the financial statements and systems of internal controls of those clients. The resulting audit opinions are highly valued by members of the investment community and creditors, who need an independent appraisal of the financial statements of organizations.
External auditors are certified by a governing body, which in the United States is the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. As certified public accountants, external auditors have proven that they have a certain minimum level of training and experience, and have passed a lengthy examination. These auditors must also fulfill periodic continuing professional education requirements in order to keep their certifications current.