How to Become an Internal Auditor

Internal auditing is an essential field that deals with helping companies and organizations meet their desired goals and improve the operations, internal controls, and risk management. Internal auditors are trained professionals that perform a variety of internal auditing activities for their company or organization.

What does an internal auditor do?

Internal auditors are concerned with financial and non-financial aspects of their organization. They inspect, assess, and confirm the effectiveness of the internal controls, management procedures, and financial and information systems of their organization. They check for fraud, waste, and mismanagement activities and make sure records are accurate. They also examine the operations of the organization and assess their effectiveness, efficiency, and compliance with government regulations and corporate policies. Internal auditors also evaluate the reliability of financial reporting and safeguard the assets of the company. They focus on preventing and investigating any form of fraud. Internal auditors also help management assess the effectiveness of controls based on real-time data.

What kind of training does an internal auditor need?

Internal auditors typically need at least a bachelor degree in accounting, finance, business, or other related field. Some employers prefer candidates with a master degree in business administration. Many prospective internal auditors complete internships to gain practical experience in the field. Most employers provide on the job training for new internal auditors. New auditors work with experienced professionals completing simple tasks and move on to more advanced duties as they gain skills and experience. Many internal auditors gain professional certifications such as the Certified Internal Auditor designation that is offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors. The requirements for certification include minimum experience and passing a four-part examination. Internal auditors must complete annual continuing education courses to maintain their certification.

What are the prospects for a career as an internal auditor?

Employment of internal auditors is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 18% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increase in new businesses and changes in legislation will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for internal auditors with advanced education and certification. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace internal auditors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do internal auditors make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of internal auditors earn annual salaries between $43,694 and $54,784. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $60,964 (2).

A career as an internal auditor is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in internal auditing. Internal auditors must have mathematical aptitude and be familiar with a variety of procedures, policies, and systems of organizations. They must have the ability to pay close attention to detail and evaluate, compare, and understand facts and figures in a fast manner. Internal auditors must have excellent communication skills and the ability to work with a variety of professionals.

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