A Day in the Life of a BARR Associate

August 22, 2022 |

Ever wondered what a day in the life of an IT auditor looks like? Luckily for you, Senior Consultant Emma Ostrowski is here to walk you through a day in the life at BARR Advisory. Let’s get the day started!

The Morning 

Honestly, I am not a morning person. I keep a simple routine. I check my phone, brush my teeth, wash my face, get dressed, make a french press coffee, and “commute” to my office—which is actually just a desk in my room. I’ll usually have a late breakfast of greek yogurt and fruit at my desk. 

The Work Day

Every day at BARR is different depending on where I am within a client engagement. I listen to music on Spotify while I work—depending on my mood I’ll be listening to funky electronic house music, Lana Del Rey, or classic rock. 

If it’s a week with walkthrough meetings, I review evidence from the client, prepare an agenda with any questions to ask, test controls with the information I have, and meet with the clients over Zoom for a few hours. 

When it isn’t a week with walkthrough meetings, I spend a few hours each day testing and reviewing control documentation, editing draft reports, and answering and/or asking questions. Although it might sound odd, the work tasks that excite me are organizing document request lists and work papers for client engagements. Something about templating things is so satisfying.

When it’s time for lunch, I tend to snack at my desk. My favorite days at BARR are days that we have Lunch and Learns because I can expense lunch. On those days, I usually pick up a salad or bowl from Sweetgreen, DIG, or a Scandinavian restaurant nearby in East Village, New York City. Sometimes I go to a midday workout class paid for by BARR with our health and wellness stipend. 

I manage my time throughout the day by blocking off time on my Google calendar for any assignments or tasks that I know will require uninterrupted focus time, such as control testing and report reviews. For other tasks that I can jump back and forth on, I track those tasks in a list in my laptop. 

My favorite part of the workday is any time I get to connect with my coworkers via Slack or virtual coffee chats. I also enjoy my 1:1s with my manager, Dan, my weekly team meetings, and our company-wide virtual happy hours. The most exciting happy hour I’ve participated in was when we all played Among Us together! 

I make sure to stick to BARR’s “For-You-Fridays” policy. We keep our Fridays meeting-free to be used for either uninterrupted work time or free time if your work is done for the week. 

The End of the Day

Typically, I call my mom or hang out with my two roommates after logging off for the day and switching off from work mode. It is helpful to have classes and events booked after work so I don’t procrastinate during the day and make sure I leave the house (both of which I am guilty of doing). Currently, I am enrolled in a weekly in-person French class. 

All About Balance

With BARR’s unlimited PTO policy, it’s easy to take off mental health days or sick days when you need them. It’s also important to be transparent about your workload capacity with both your managers and coworkers. I recently did this with my manager, Dan, and he was able to help me delegate some tasks and my wonderful coworker was able to help me out. 

Thinking about applying to a role at BARR? If you are someone who works best when you own your own schedule and are self-motivated to get things done, BARR is the place for you! I believe our client services team has a culture and ethos of setting realistic deadlines and trusting that you are going to get the work done on time in your own time—whether that is late at night or on the beach. Of course you’ll be able to reach your coworkers and clients during business hours, but if you want to finish all of your control testing on Thursday and take off Friday, you have the freedom to do that. 

About Emma Ostrowski

As a senior consultant, Emma leads SOC examinations and assists our valued clients in developing their cybersecurity strategy, navigating complex compliance issues, identifying risks, and finding security solutions that work best for them. 

Prior to joining the BARR team, Emma earned her Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in engineering management and minoring in supply chain management, from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She also completed a computer engineering co-op for Moen Incorporated, where she furthered the development of several smart home devices, tested development software releases for iOS and Android mobile applications, and more. Emma also studied abroad in Luxembourg, volunteering at a social service organization. She is currently based in Manhattan, New York. 

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at BARR Advisory? Contact us today.

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