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Become A Lead Auditor

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Working As A Lead 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

  • $75,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Lead 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 A Lead 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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Average Length of Employment
Lead Auditor 4.0 years
Auditor Supervisor 3.7 years
Senior Auditor 3.6 years
Auditor/Quality 3.2 years
Internal Auditor 3.0 years
Corporate Auditor 3.0 years
Compliance Auditor 2.8 years
Finance Auditor 2.8 years
Auditor 2.5 years
Auditor/Consultant 2.3 years
Contractor Auditor 2.1 years
Staff Auditor 2.1 years
Associate Auditor 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Lead Auditor
Auditor 13.9%
Manager 5.4%
Cashier 5.0%
Supervisor 4.4%
Consultant 3.2%
Top Careers After Lead Auditor
Auditor 8.4%
Manager 6.3%
Consultant 5.6%
Cashier 3.9%
Supervisor 3.6%
Accountant 2.8%

Do you work as a Lead Auditor?

Lead Auditor Demographics

Gender

Male

50.9%

Female

38.4%

Unknown

10.7%
Ethnicity

White

59.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

9.3%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.8%

Chinese

8.1%

Arabic

8.1%

German

6.5%

Japanese

4.8%

French

4.8%

Portuguese

3.2%

Mandarin

3.2%

Russian

1.6%

Bantu

1.6%

Zulu

1.6%

Dakota

1.6%

Urdu

1.6%

Persian

1.6%

Afrikaans

1.6%

Korean

1.6%

Italian

1.6%
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Lead Auditor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

28.7%

Purdue University

6.0%

Strayer University

5.6%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.1%

Arizona State University

4.6%

Kaplan University

4.6%

Ashford University

4.2%

National University

3.7%

University of Houston

3.7%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.2%

University of Akron

3.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.2%

The Academy

3.2%

University of Washington

3.2%

Drexel University

3.2%

Wayne State University

2.8%

Brigham Young University

2.8%

University of Cincinnati

2.8%

Illinois State University

2.8%
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Majors

Business

34.7%

Accounting

19.0%

Management

5.6%

Finance

5.5%

Health Care Administration

3.8%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Computer Science

2.7%

Electrical Engineering

2.5%

Chemistry

2.4%

Biology

2.2%

Industrial Technology

2.1%

General Studies

2.1%

Education

2.1%

Psychology

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering

2.0%

Nursing

1.9%

Communication

1.8%

Computer Information Systems

1.7%

English

1.6%

Medical Assisting Services

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.2%

Other

20.7%

Masters

20.3%

Associate

9.9%

Certificate

4.7%

Diploma

1.6%

Doctorate

1.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$75,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$55,000
Min 10%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
BWX Technologies
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Lead Auditor make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Lead Auditor in the United States is $75,685 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $55,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $103,000.

Real Lead Auditor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Auditor Cornerstone Ondemand, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Mar 09, 2016 $120,000
Lead Auditor TUV Rheinland of North America, Inc. Irvine, CA Jul 16, 2014 $106,446
Lead Auditor TUV Rheinland of North America, Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 06, 2015 $106,446
Medical Device Lead Auditor TUV Sud America, Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 01, 2014 $100,800
Lead Auditor TUV Rheinland of North America, Inc. Boxborough, MA Aug 23, 2016 $98,717
Audit Leader Mastercard International Incorporated NY Aug 17, 2015 $95,000
Lead Auditor-Data Analytics Mead Johnson & Company, LLC Glenview, IL Sep 08, 2014 $92,914 -
$145,800
Lead Auditor TUV Rheinland of North America, Inc. Littleton, MA Aug 18, 2016 $89,750
Lead Auditor and Food Technical Responsible DET Norske Veritas Certification, Inc. Katy, TX Oct 01, 2012 $88,500 -
$98,500
Auditor (Lead Financial Auditor) Withumsmith+Brown Global Assurance New Brunswick, NJ Oct 23, 2009 $88,364
Lead Auditor Dynegy Inc. Houston, TX Sep 22, 2016 $88,000
Lead Audit Specialist GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 06, 2010 $88,000
Lead Auditor TUV Rheinland of North America, Inc. Littleton, MA Aug 28, 2016 $86,250
Lead Internal Audit Associate SVB Financial Group Santa Clara, CA Jul 04, 2014 $86,008 -
$126,072
Lead Internal Audit Associate SVB Financial Group Santa Clara, CA Apr 07, 2014 $86,008 -
$126,072
Lead Auditor/Food Safety DNV GL Business Assurance USA, Inc. Plano, TX Aug 29, 2015 $84,996
Lead Auditor DET Norske Veritas Certification, Inc. Katy, TX Sep 21, 2011 $84,302 -
$97,000
Lead Auditor at&T Services, Inc. Dallas, TX Nov 12, 2012 $83,241
Lead Auditor/Trainer-Food Safety DET Norske Veritas Certification, Inc. Orland Park, IL Sep 03, 2013 $82,000 -
$91,000
Lead Auditor SGS North America, Inc. Rutherford, NJ Oct 17, 2011 $79,082 -
$95,000
Lead Auditor/Trainer-Food Safety Services DET Norske Veritas Certification, Inc. Orland Park, IL Nov 28, 2011 $77,500 -
$90,000
Lead Auditor Senior The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Akron, OH Oct 29, 2010 $77,000
Lead Auditor Johnson Controls Inc. Milwaukee, WI Aug 20, 2010 $76,877 -
$92,056
Lead Auditor National Grid USA Service Company Inc. Waltham, MA Sep 24, 2011 $72,097
Lead Auditor--Food Safety DNV GL Business Assurance USA, Inc. Plano, TX Sep 15, 2016 $70,600 -
$100,600
Lead Auditor Senior The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Akron, OH Sep 15, 2009 $70,429
Food Safety Lead Auditor SGS North America, Inc. Rutherford, NJ Sep 15, 2013 $65,000 -
$70,000
Audit Lead The Northern Trust Company Chicago, IL Sep 16, 2014 $65,000 -
$75,000
Lead Auditor Scientific Certification Systems, Inc. Orlando, FL Sep 01, 2014 $62,000

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Top Skills for A Lead Auditor

  1. Audit
  2. Ensure Compliance
  3. ISO
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Audited pallet orders utilizing scanner technology to reduce order errors.
  • Reviewed programmatic documentation to ensure compliance with state and/or federal laws, program regulations and guidelines.
  • Participated in the development and implementation of common process characterization efforts across multiple factories giving comparison data greater significance.
  • Analyze financial statements to identify trends and anomalies in financial data.
  • Worked with military and civilian personnel to develop and implement corrective actions for environmental deficiencies.

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Top 10 Best States for Lead Auditors

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Connecticut
  4. New York
  5. New Jersey
  6. Virginia
  7. Texas
  8. Delaware
  9. North Carolina
  10. Illinois
  • (96 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (124 jobs)
  • (355 jobs)
  • (217 jobs)
  • (367 jobs)
  • (617 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (226 jobs)
  • (366 jobs)

Top Lead Auditor Employers

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