Internal Auditor Requirement and Qualification

At all levels, public and private enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies employ internal auditors. They work as self-contained agents within a company. They're in charge of evaluating internal controls, risk management efforts, and governance processes objectively.

Internal auditors examine almost every aspect of a business, including operational efficiency, financial reporting accuracy, information security measures, and legal and regulatory compliance. Another important job of an internal auditor is detecting, investigating, and deterring all sorts of fraud within a company.

Internal auditors typically have access to and assessment authority over all areas of a company. Internal auditors often report to the audit committee of the board of directors of a publicly traded corporation, ensuring independence from the company's management structure. This allows for the anonymous and objective reporting of fraud and operational concerns, regardless of who is involved, guaranteeing that the issues are handled, and improvements are made to the firm.

Internal Auditing as a Career

While many internal auditors start at the entry-level after earning their bachelor's degrees, others advance after getting professional experience working in external audit companies or accounting. Junior internal auditors can rise to more senior positions after several years of experience, handling complicated audit assignments from the planning phases to the final reporting stages.

Senior internal auditors may be in charge of supervising and leading audit teams to execute audit projects. Top performers in big internal audit departments can advance to managerial positions, leading the department's activities, managing department performance, and communicating audit results to the appropriate authorities within the company.

Qualifications in Education

A bachelor's degree is usually required for an entry-level internal auditor post, preferably in a business discipline such as accounting, finance, management, public administration, or computer information systems. Entry-level job candidates with degrees in engineering or other technical topics relating to the company's operations may be sought by some companies.

Bachelor's degrees and extensive experience in internal auditing are often required for senior roles in the area. While a master's degree in business administration (MBA) or another similar subject is not generally needed for progression in the sector, it can significantly benefit the job market, particularly for leadership roles in internal audit departments.

Additional Qualifications

Internal auditors can earn a variety of professional certificates. Some employment in the industry requires one or more qualifications, while others identify certifications as preferences rather than requirements. The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certificate and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification are the two most prominent certifications in the business.

The Institute of Internal Auditors awards the CIA accreditation, the most prestigious professional qualification in the sector. It is commonly seen as a prerequisite for promotion to more senior internal auditing roles. Candidates must have either a bachelor's degree and two years of qualifying work experience or an associate's degree and five years of qualifying work experience to be certified. With one year of qualifying work experience, an applicant with a master's degree is qualified for certification. Candidates must pass a certification exam to be considered.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants awards the CPA qualification, which is the most critical professional certificate in the discipline of public accounting. Candidates must typically complete an academic degree in accounting and a total of 150 semester hours of qualifying courses in accounting, business, and general education themes. Certification requirements vary significantly from state to state. While a master's degree is not necessary, many candidates complete the educational requirements by taking at least some graduate courses. A passing score on the Uniform CPA Examination is also required for the CPA designation.

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) distinction, the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation, and the Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) designation are all relevant professional certifications for numerous professions in the area.

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