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Become an Internal Auditor

Considering a career as an Internal Auditor? Find out all you need to know to decide whether this career is right for you.

What does an Internal Auditor do?

An Internal Auditor will perform various types of tasks depending on the industry and whether the hiring organization is public or private. The main role of an Internal Auditor is to verify the accuracy of all internal records, evaluate internal systems in order to detect any mismanagement, inefficiencies or fraud.

As an Internal Auditor, you will need to be highly educated in regard to all corporate policies, laws and government regulations affecting the way your organization does business. Your assessments of company data and your suggestions for changing any company policies and procedures will be grounded in the knowledge of these fundamentals.

In order to be a successful Internal Auditor, you will need to have various sets of skills. You will often need to work alone on projects; therefore, you must have a strong work ethic and desire to perform highly. You will also need to have very strong computer skills as well as have current knowledge of auditing and accounting software available for your organization's type of information system.

Since many Internal Auditing projects require an Internal Auditor to acquire data, process data, evaluate internal systems and produce complex solutions, you will need to have strong presentation skills. You will often be charged with the reponsibility of presenting complex concepts to upper management and having to successfully communicate the value-added by changing current operations.

The Internal Auditing profession is grounded in business fundamentals that are extremely valuable in any type of business related profession. Many individuals with a background in internal auditing go on to be very successful as CEOs or business owners in any industry.

How to Become an Internal Auditor?

Educational requirements may vary slightly depending on the company, the area you wish to work and your previous work experience.

For most all Internal Auditor careers, the minimum educational requirement is the completion of a Bachelor's degree. However, the majority of successful Internal Auditors hold various forms of professional auditing designations such as the following through the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA):

  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
  • Certification in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA)
  • Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)
  • Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA)

After 5 years of experience, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association offers the designation of the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

The most successful Internal Auditors will also have completed MBA programs in Accounting or Finance or MBA programs in Technology if working in that industry.

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Beyond a quality education and the development of skills necessary to succeed as an Internal Auditor, you will need to learn where to gain experience by finding career opportunities.

You will find some career opportunities on Internal Auditing Career portals such as the ISAC or the IIA; however, you will probably have quicker results if you contact a local recruiter or begin contacting hiring firms directly. You may find Internal Auditor openings under newspaper or online classifieds (Craigslist or Monster.com).

What is an Internal Auditor's Salary?

As an Internal Auditor, your salary can vary significantly depending on your level of experience, your level of acquired education and size of the company you work for.

The median salary* for an Internal Auditor is $54,600.

The top 10% of Internal Auditors are pulling in an average of $94,100.

In order to boost yourself to this level of success, you will need to perform highly, develop years of experience at a respectable company and lastly, earn yourself an advanced degree.

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* Source: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2006

How does the future look for an Internal Auditor?

The job outlook for Internal Auditors looks very good for the coming years. As competition increases in virtually every industry and as the result of accounting scandals, businesses are needing to have better documented and regulated internal policies and programs. Highly educated Internal Auditors are going to be in the highest demand in the future.

Those who can systematically and autonomously conduct internal auditing procedures to decrease mismanagement, increase efficiency and reduce any possibility of accounting errors or bad conduct will have limitless employment opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has projected that from 2004 to 2014 accounting and auditing career opportunities will increase 22% nationwide from 1,176,200 to 1,440,100 jobs.

The future looks bright for the Internal Auditor profession, so go ahead and get started!

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