How to Become an Internal Auditor

When you become an internal auditor, your role will be to make sure a company is performing to its best.

If you’ve got a good head for figures, an eye for detail, and a knack for problem solving, then you might look towards a career in internal auditing.

An internal auditor analyzes the financial records of a company.

They look to see that all of the industry and government regulations are being met by the business, while also ensuring that resources are being used accordingly and unnecessary waste is not occurring.

An internal auditor is there to make sure the business does not waste money or resources it doesn’t have to, therefore ensuring profits are at their strongest.

In times of financial pressure and uncertainty, the role of the internal auditor becomes more important than ever.

Education Requirements to Become and Internal Auditor

To become an internal auditor you will need a four year accounting degree at a minimum.

This degree with a minor in business administration would be an ideal way to start your career.

However, similar degrees in business or finance would also be acceptable, as long as you have a strong focus on accounting as a part of your coursework.

Once you have completed your degree, you might like to take the necessary steps towards becoming a CPA.

This can help in terms of finding employment, in fact many organizations will require that you become a CPA as a condition of your employment.

You can find out more about CPA programs at The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Some internal auditors go on to complete postgraduate qualifications.

For instance, an MBA or a masters degree with a focus on audits would be beneficial.

Internal Auditor Job Description

When you become an internal auditor, your job is to oversee the many functions of a company, and make sure that resources are being used to their best potential.

A large focus of an internal auditors role in on financial reporting.

As an internal auditor you would routinely look at figures and reports prepared by various departments and review financial performance.

Company expenditure is also reviewed, and an internal auditor will always be on the look out to spend money more wisely.

They also make sure that there are no instances of fraud or embezzlement going on inside a company, that tax obligations are always met, and that all industry regulations as well as state and federal laws are being met.

In some instances, an internal auditor may look beyond economical data to ensure to smooth running of a company.

Some auditors look at the way a company could be affecting the environment, for instance.

Here are some of the tasks of an internal auditor:

  • Reviewing financial data
  • Preparing regular reports on company performance
  • Detecting instances of fraud
  • Ensuring tax obligations are met promptly
  • Ensuring company resources are not wasted
  • Making recommendations to reduce waste and spending

Internal Auditor Salary and Career Path

When you decide to become an internal auditor, you first role will likely be as a junior internal auditor.

Here you will provide assistance to others in the team, while learning the functions of your role.

With experience, you could expect to be promoted to the role of internal auditor, and then eventually to a senior internal auditor or a similar role where you would be a head of department.

The best opportunities for advancement go to those candidates who have a postgraduate qualification and those who are CPAs.

For this reason, you might like to start working towards these goals early in your career.

When you become an internal auditor, you could expect a starting salary of around $48,000 a year.

The median salary for this position is $58,000 a year, while the top 10% of earners made of $102,000+ a year.

Some internal auditors go on to roles such as financial controller or group accountant later in their career.

Some similar roles to that of an internal auditor include:

If you’re looking for a role in accountancy that offers a challenge as well as a lot of variety, then you might like to become an internal auditor.

This role offers lots of diversity in its tasks, along with secure employment and a strong salary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an internal auditor do?

An internal auditor is responsible for the main functions within the accountancy field.

The main aim of internal auditors is to provide an objective assessment of the company and to determine whether its internal control structure is effective or not.

The general responsibilities of the specialists usually include reviewing operations and procedures; confirming that those support the company’s objectives and goals; reporting signs of non-compliance; explaining the impact that non-compliance can have; evaluating the efficiency of current controls, and so on.

Sometimes internal auditors are also asked to review the way the company protects its assets; in case there is something wrong with the safeguard, the specialist can recommend some changes.

How much do internal auditors make?

On average, internal auditors make around $55.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $33.000 and $85.000 annually.

The salary would mainly depend on your education level, experience, and the location.

Internal auditors that have some experience in the field can earn around $23-$27 per hour.

Specialists that have shown great results can end up receiving bonuses (some of those can reach $8.000 per year).

How much does it cost to become an internal auditor?

You would need a bachelor’s degree to become an internal auditor (in finance, accounting, business administration, etc.).

A year in a university will cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $30.000 depending on whether you are an in-state student or not, whether the university is private or public, and on the overall prestige of the institution.

The cost of books, supplies, and accommodation is not included.

Some experts suggest going for a master’s, in order to be able to apply for the highest-paid jobs.

It will cost you $30.000 and more to acquire a master’s degree.

You can earn various accreditations (like the Certified Public Accountant, for example).

The application fee is $100; you would have to pay around $775 for all 4 exams.

What is the demand for internal auditors?

Between 2016 and 2026, the auditor job market is expected to grow by 10%.

This is one of the careers that are going to provide excellent employment opportunities in the near future.

The government regulations are becoming stricter, that’s why there will be a need for more auditors.

There might be a higher demand for internal auditors (rather than external ones), as companies want to make sure that their reports meet all the standard requirements.

The few states where the auditor industry is concentrated include New York, California, and Texas.

How long does it take to become an internal auditor?

It will take you 4 years to acquire a bachelor’s degree and another 1-2 years to get a master’s (in case you decide to go for it).

There are institutions that offer baccalaureate programs in auditing.

The majority of future internal auditors start as clerks, junior auditors or bookkeepers, as you might be required to have at least 2 years of accounting experience.

In case you decide to take the CPA exam, you would have to pass all four sections in 18 months.

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