National Audit Office

National Audit Office

National Audit Office

At the NAO, we offer something different - the chance to be part of work that has a real impact on the nation. We help Parliament hold government to account for how taxpayers' money is spent. We provide assurance to Parliament through our audit work and add value to government by supporting its drive to improve public services. Our people have a great reputation among our clients, Parliament, other international audit institutions and the wider accountancy profession.

Our clients range from large government departments including the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence, through to smaller agencies like English Heritage and the Food Standards Agency. We also have a number of international clients such as the United Nations and provide support to audit institutions in developing countries.

We're at the heart of the drive to promote economy and efficiency in government as we focus on the big systemic, cross-government issues in order to bring about significant change. It's a great time to join us with all the attention that is being paid to improving the delivery of public services and to achieving good value for the taxpayer.

Training & Profiles

Being a graduate trainee at the NAO gives you the chance to be part of work that has a real impact on the nation - you will help us to help the nation spend wisely straight away by contributing to our audits and other high profile projects. Alongside that, our three-year ACA training programme sees you right through to qualification as an associate chartered accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

There is no such thing as a typical NAO graduate trainee. We accept applications from all degree disciplines. We look for a 2:1 or above degree in any subject (achieved or expected) and 300 UCAS points or equivalent from your top three A-level grades (or equivalent) not including General Studies). If you have 280 UCAS points (or equivalent) you may be eligible to apply based on the context of your educational and personal circumstances - please contact for further details.

Application Procedure

Please visit for more information and to apply on-line.

Our process involves the following:

  • Stage 1 - on-line application and numerical reasoning test.
  • Stage 2 - preliminary telephone interview.
  • Stage 3 - 1 day assessment centre.

The NAO will cover reasonable expenses for attending all assessments.

Pay and benefits

We have a competitive reward package which includes:

  • A starting salary of £28,950 (London) or £23,146 (Newcastle) which will increase year-on-year and be subject to increases for success in exams to take it to around £36,000 (London) and £30,000 (Newcastle).
  • After qualifying graduates may be offered a permanent position as an Audit Principal, starting salaries for Audit Principal are in the region of £50,000 (London) and £40,000 (Newcastle).
  • An attractive and secure pension scheme funded through significant employer contributions.
  • 25 weeks of college study leave over the three-year programme, allowing trainees time away from the office to concentrate on studying.

For more information about the benefits we offer please see our Total Reward Statement.

Who we are looking for

Successful candidates join us from a diverse range of backgrounds and there is no such thing as a typical NAO graduate trainee. We value the unique perspective, insight, talent and contribution each individual brings. We accept applications from graduates in any degree subject, we do however have some minimum criteria you will need to meet:

  • 300 UCAS points or equivalent from your top 3 A Level grades (or equivalent). General Studies does not count.
  • Minimum 2.1 degree in any subject (achieved or expected).
  • You must be a UK, Commonwealth, EEA or Swiss national to comply with Civil Service nationality rules and must hold a valid work permit. We are not able to sponsor work visas.

In addition to your academic qualifications we look at your competence in eight key areas. By competence we mean the skills and behaviours that you will need to demonstrate to be a successful Graduate Trainee at the NAO.