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Become An Internal Auditor

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Working As An Internal Auditor

  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $55,300

    Average Salary

What Does An Internal Auditor Do

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently. 

Duties

Accountants and auditors typically do the following:

  • Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
  • Organize and maintain financial records
  • Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

In addition to examining and preparing financial documentation, accountants and auditors must explain their findings. This includes preparing written reports and meeting face-to-face with organization managers and individual clients.

Many accountants and auditors specialize, depending on the particular organization that they work for. Some work for organizations that specialize in assurance services (improving the quality or context of information for decisionmakers) or risk management (determining the probability of a misstatement on financial documentation). Other organizations specialize in specific industries, such as healthcare.

Some workers with a background in accounting and auditing teach in colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

The following are examples of types of accountants and auditors:

Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals.

Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns.

Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.

Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.

Management accountants, also called cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.

Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.

Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.

External auditors perform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.

Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.

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How To Become An Internal Auditor

Most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. For example, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).  

Education

Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree, either in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

A few universities and colleges offer specialized programs, such as a bachelor’s degree in internal auditing. In some cases, those with associate’s degrees, as well as bookkeepers and accounting clerks who meet the education and experience requirements set by their employers, get junior accounting positions and advance to accountant positions by showing their accounting skills on the job.

Many colleges help students gain practical experience through summer or part-time internships with public accounting or business firms.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many other accountants choose to become a CPA to enhance their job prospects or to gain clients. Many employers will often pay the costs associated with the CPA exam.

CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements. Almost all states require CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework to be certified, which is 30 hours more than the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer a 5-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to meet the 150-hour requirement, but a master’s degree is not required.

A few states allow a number of years of public accounting experience to substitute for a college degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Candidates do not have to pass all four parts at once, but most states require that they pass all four parts within 18 months of passing their first part.

Almost all states require CPAs to take continuing education to keep their license.

Certification provides an advantage in the job market because it shows professional competence in a specialized field of accounting and auditing. Accountants and auditors seek certifications from a variety of professional societies. Some of the most common certifications are listed below:

The Institute of Management Accountants offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to applicants who complete a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have worked at least 2 years in management accounting, pass a two-part exam, agree to meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct. The exam covers areas such as financial statement analysis, working-capital policy, capital structure, valuation issues, and risk management. 

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to graduates from accredited colleges and universities who have worked for 2 years as internal auditors and have passed a four-part exam. The IIA also offers the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) to those who pass the exams and meet educational and experience requirements.

ISACA offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) to candidates who pass an exam and have 5 years of experience auditing information systems. Information systems experience, financial or operational auditing experience, or related college credit hours can be substituted for up to 3 years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security.

For accountants with a CPA, the AICPA offers the option to receive any or all of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certifications. The ABV requires a written exam, completion of at least six business valuation projects, and 75 hours of continuing education. The CITP requires 1,000 hours of business technology experience and 75 hours of continuing education. Candidates for the PFS also must complete a certain amount of work experience and continuing education, and pass a written exam.

Advancement

Some top executives and financial managers have a background in accounting, internal auditing, or finance.

Beginning public accountants often advance to positions with more responsibility in 1 or 2 years and to senior positions within another few years. Those who excel may become supervisors, managers, or partners; open their own public accounting firm; or transfer to executive positions in management accounting or internal auditing in private firms.

Management accountants often start as cost accountants, junior internal auditors, or trainees for other accounting positions. As they rise through the organization, they may advance to accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing. Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, chief financial officers, or corporation presidents.

Public accountants, management accountants, and internal auditors can move from one aspect of accounting and auditing to another. Public accountants often move into management accounting or internal auditing. Management accountants may become internal auditors, and internal auditors may become management accountants. However, it is less common for management accountants or internal auditors to move into public accounting.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors use these skills to detect fraudulent use of funds.  

Communication skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others. They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports.

Detail oriented. Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation.

Math skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients.

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Internal Auditor jobs

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Internal Auditor Career Paths

Internal Auditor
Assistant Controller Plant Controller Controller
Controller/Director Of Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Cost Accounting Manager Accounting Manager
Corporate Accounting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accountant Senior Accountant Controller
Corporate Controller
12 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager Business Manager Controller
Director Of Accounting & Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Auditor Senior Accountant Accounting Manager
Division Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Accounting Supervisor Assistant Controller
Divisional Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Controller
Finance Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Auditor Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager Senior Manager Controller
Finance Vice President
9 Yearsyrs
Accountant Finance Manager Sales Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Controller Operations Manager Human Resources Coordinator
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Controller
Interim Controller
15 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Accountant Senior Auditor
Internal Audit Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Controller Accounting Consultant Accounting Manager
Manager/Finance Accounting
8 Yearsyrs
Controller General Manager Account Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Accountant Accounting Supervisor Accounting Manager
Plant Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Accountant Accounting Manager Controller
Regional Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Senior Accounting Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Finance Manager Finance Director
Senior Director Of Finance
14 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Senior Finance Analyst Finance Manager
Senior Finance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Tax Auditor 4.0 years
Lead Auditor 3.5 years
Senior Auditor 3.5 years
Auditor Supervisor 3.5 years
Field Auditor 3.3 years
Accounting Auditor 3.2 years
Internal Auditor 3.0 years
Account Auditor 3.0 years
Corporate Auditor 2.9 years
Compliance Auditor 2.9 years
Auditor-In-Charge 2.8 years
Revenue Auditor 2.8 years
Finance Auditor 2.8 years
Auditor 2.4 years
Auditor/Consultant 2.4 years
Contractor Auditor 2.2 years
Staff Auditor 2.1 years
Associate Auditor 1.8 years
Junior Auditor 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Accountant 9.5%
Auditor 8.6%
Controller 4.3%
Manager 3.9%
Internship 3.1%
Consultant 2.5%
Top Employers After
Controller 9.2%
Accountant 7.0%
Consultant 5.6%
Auditor 3.7%
Manager 3.5%

Internal Auditor Demographics

Gender

Male

54.1%

Female

43.2%

Unknown

2.8%
Ethnicity

White

74.5%

Hispanic or Latino

11.2%

Asian

10.5%

Unknown

2.6%

Black or African American

1.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.8%

French

9.7%

Mandarin

7.9%

Chinese

7.7%

Portuguese

5.1%

German

4.9%

Cantonese

3.1%

Russian

2.9%

Italian

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Hindi

2.4%

Japanese

2.2%

Urdu

1.6%

Korean

1.3%

Polish

1.1%

Romanian

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Hebrew

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Bulgarian

0.7%
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Internal Auditor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.0%

Pennsylvania State University

6.1%

Northern Illinois University

6.0%

Strayer University

5.5%

DePaul University

5.1%

Pace University - New York

4.6%

Villanova University

4.3%

Northeastern University

4.3%

University of Houston

4.2%

Michigan State University

4.0%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.0%

Webster University

4.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.9%

Cleveland State University

3.8%

University of Texas at Austin

3.8%

Drexel University

3.6%

Temple University

3.5%

New York University

3.5%

University of Florida

3.4%

Georgia State University

3.4%
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Majors

Accounting

40.4%

Business

29.9%

Finance

11.1%

Management

3.7%

Economics

1.6%

Marketing

1.3%

Education

1.1%

Criminal Justice

1.1%

Law

1.1%

Computer Science

1.0%

Human Resources Management

1.0%

Computer Information Systems

0.8%

Psychology

0.8%

Health Care Administration

0.8%

Project Management

0.8%

Communication

0.7%

Information Systems

0.7%

Political Science

0.7%

International Business

0.6%

English

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.0%

Masters

34.4%

Other

10.5%

Associate

3.6%

Certificate

3.1%

Doctorate

1.6%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.2%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Internal Auditor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Internal Auditor Intuit Mountain View, CA Jun 07, 2016 $125,000
Internal Auditor KLA-Tencor Corporation Milpitas, CA Jan 01, 2015 $124,000
Lead Internal Auditor Intuit Inc. Menlo Park, CA Aug 03, 2015 $122,500 -
$125,000
Internal Auditor Pro Kitchen Design Inc. Ridgefield, NJ Jul 15, 2015 $120,000
Internal Auditor Barclays Services Corp New York, NY Mar 25, 2016 $117,437
Lead Internal Auditor Intuit Inc. Menlo Park, CA Feb 09, 2016 $115,000 -
$125,000
Technology Internal Auditor Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 05, 2016 $115,000
Internal Auditor Intralinks, Inc. New York, NY Jan 28, 2016 $112,400 -
$136,400
Auditor, Internal Audit Cisco Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 26, 2016 $110,344 -
$135,000
Internal Auditor Symantec Corporation Mountain View, CA Aug 10, 2015 $102,814
Internal Auditor Oracle America, Inc. CA Dec 14, 2015 $100,000 -
$122,014
Internal Auditor Desbuild Incorporated Hyattsville, MD Feb 24, 2016 $99,715
Internal Audit Applied Materials, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jan 09, 2016 $73,000
Internal Auditor FDF Asset Management LLC Boston, MA Jul 27, 2016 $72,000 -
$75,000
Internal Auditor-FIN Oracle America, Inc. CA May 02, 2015 $71,261 -
$97,398
Internal Auditor Zynga Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 22, 2015 $71,261 -
$91,261
Internal Auditor-Finance Oracle America, Inc. CA Sep 17, 2015 $71,261 -
$87,659
Accountant & Internal Auditor CAC Global Inc. Irvington, NJ Nov 14, 2016 $71,198
Corporate Internal Auditor II Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Apr 01, 2016 $70,629
Internal Auditor TJ-H2B Management Services LLC Sacramento, CA Apr 23, 2015 $56,285
Internal Auditor Clean Air Car Service & Parking Corporation NY Jan 01, 2015 $56,000
Internal Auditor BLZ Consulting Fort Lee, NJ Jul 20, 2015 $56,000
Internal Auditor Clean Air Car Service &Amp; Parking Corporation NY Mar 01, 2016 $56,000
Internal Auditor Bluestem Brands, Inc. Eden Prairie, MN Jan 08, 2016 $55,800 -
$89,300
Internal Auditor The Chanel Company Limited New York, NY Sep 09, 2016 $55,500
Internal Auditor Computer Information Analyst Atlas Air, Inc. NY Jul 09, 2016 $55,370
Internal Auditor Titan Builders LLC New York, NY Sep 27, 2015 $55,306

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Top Skills for An Internal Auditor

InternalAuditDepartmentEnsureComplianceFinancialStatementsAuditProceduresInternalControlsInternalAuditReportsAnnualRiskAssessmentInternalAuditProgramSOXSarbanes-OxleyExternalAuditorsAuditCommitteeAuditFindingsOperationalAuditsAssetsPayrollBusinessProcessesRiskManagementComplianceAuditsISO

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Top Internal Auditor Skills

  1. Internal Audit Department
  2. Ensure Compliance
  3. Financial Statements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Established and ran internal audit department and provided financial analysis for decision making.
  • Compared practices with federal, state and case laws, professional standards, and Department Policy to ensure compliance.
  • Prepared annual analysis of financial statements and presented to Board of Directors.
  • Developed and implemented audit procedures.
  • Prepared audits of Special districts to ensure compliance with state statutes and internal controls.

Top Internal Auditor Employers

Internal Auditor Videos

What is Auditing: Internal vs. External?

Internal Auditor Roles - Online Training Session

How to become Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

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