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How To Become An Internal Auditor: Degree & Career Guide
It is easy to get lost in the numbers of a business. It is easy to misread or misplace a one for a seven, and it is easy to round up when not thinking too clearly about it. But in the field of accounting and numbers, everything needs to be calculated down to a tee. Accounting requires meticulous calculations.
So how do you mitigate this human error and make sure that everything is correct in the financials of an organization? Well, you would simply ensure that the organization has an internal auditor.
To become an internal auditor, you would first need to obtain your bachelor's degree, you would then need to get training in the field, and you would need to obtain your certifications. Once this has been done successfully, you can begin applying for roles as an internal auditor.
Let us take a look at everything you need to know about the career of an internal auditor and what steps you would need to take to become one.
What Is An Internal Auditor?
While an internal auditor does check all of a company's financials objectively for accuracy and compliance, they do a lot more than serve as a double checker. Internal auditors make sure to check a company's financial procedures and operations ensuring that it is in line with state and federal regulations.
This responsibility goes beyond tax, but they also check if any fraud is being committed and if there are any red flags that both the company, employees, and external stakeholders need to be aware of.
For the most part, an internal auditor would do the exact same thing that an external auditor would do to ensure that nothing is of concern in the financial operations of a company. Should a company be audited by government authorities or by external organizations, the internal auditor would have made sure that everything adheres to all necessary protocols.
Over and above regulatory adherence, an internal auditor will be extremely involved in devising and implementing company policies and procedures. They will establish optimized procedures, and they will closely assess existing policies to make sure that it is already streamlined and optimal.
If any accounting processes seem staggard, the internal auditor will devise a streamlined process while collaborating with management and with the finance division of a company.
What Does An Internal Auditor Do?
An internal auditor is required to remain objective throughout their financial evaluations of an organization, even though they are internally recruited by the organization. They are there to make sure that all financial operations are executedeffectively and in accordance with regulatory requirements.
While they do establish and set in place company procedures and policies, they also make sure that they assess existing practices and processes.
If a company exhibits any vulnerabilities in operations and procedures, the internal auditor will devise potential solutions to resolve the problems that present themselves.
They also work on devising financial controls and processes and they communicate with the financial management of a company to optimize digital software.
Steps To Become An Internal Auditor
Step One: Obtain A Degree
The first point in this career is earning your bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or any other related field. Considering that your aim would be to operate directly in the auditing field, it would be highly recommended that you choose coursework that is geared toward auditing processes.
Step Two: Enroll In Training Programs
Once you have garnered 'book knowledge' in the field of accounting, it is then time to apply that knowledge into practice and gain some hands-on experience in the form of a training program. Training programs may be offered by potential employers where you are trained, and you may then be offered an internal role in the company after a year.
But there are other ways of gaining training and experience. You could possibly apply for internships and other similar roles whereby you would work under senior auditors and where they will impart their expertise and knowledge on to you.
Step Three: Obtain Your Certified Internal Auditor Certification (CIA)
You would need to take an examination for your CIA as this is a requirement that most employers have. During this exam, your knowledge of internal control, quality assessment and assurance, and regulatory compliance will be closely assessed.
Step Four: Take The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam
Before you take your CPA exam, you would need to check and make sure that you meet your state requirements to pursue this role.
Since this test process is extremely rigorous and can be extremely stressful, it is recommended that you begin studying as soon as possible as you are required to complete the examinations, comprised of a battery of tests, within 18 months.
Step Six: Enter The Workforce
With your qualifications, experience, and certifications in hand, it is time to begin your job search. While you may not walk into a senior role, you can have the confidence that you could fulfill any internal auditor role and work your way up within a company as you progress in your career.
How Much Does An Internal Auditor Earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earn a median annual salary of $77,250.
What Skills Do You Need To Be An Internal Auditor?
You would need extensive mathematical skills, analytical and organizational skills, and the ability to communicate internally and externally. Additionally, considering the great demand for accuracy in the field of auditing, you would be required to have extensive attention to detail.
What Is The Job Outlook For Internal Auditors?
The BLS states that the field of accounting and auditing expects to see a projected 6% growth over the next decade with around 136,400 new jobs opening up on average each year.
Where Do Internal Auditors Work?
They work in government offices, but they also work for corporate organizations, and in private offices.
If you have eagle eyes and have a passion for working with numbers, and perhaps you are considering careers that are related to the accounting field, becoming an auditor, whether internal or external is a great consideration to make. Not only will you have job security, but you will also have a great potential for growth in the field.
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