What Does an Internal Auditor Do? Role, Salary and Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 November 2022

Published 25 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Maintaining workplace efficiency is critical for a company's long-term success. Internal auditors guarantee that a company operates as effectively as possible while adhering to regulatory and legal requirements. Understanding more about internal auditors and the role they fill may help you decide if this is the appropriate career path for you. In this article, we discuss what does an internal auditor do, what the average salary is for the role and the steps you can take to become one.

Related: What is a Job Audit? (Definition and How to Conduct One)

What does an internal auditor do?

If you're wondering 'what does an internal auditor do?', the simple answer is that they're financial professionals who give independent and impartial assessments of the financial and operational activities of a business. Internal auditors ensure that the company conforms with national rules and regulations, they follow the correct procedure and that the organisation runs as effectively as possible. Their primary job is to detect and rectify any problems they find in order to avoid problems during an external audit by government officials. Outlined below are the common duties of an internal auditor:

  • Keeping an inventory of the company's policies, procedures and processes

  • Testing the operation and changing the design of current financial controls to enhance efficiency and customer service

  • Conducting inquiries and testing as needed to detect and fix any issues

  • Developing new audit programmes to provide sufficient financial controls

  • Creating and upgrading the internal audit plan

  • Making software, policy and audit trigger suggestions to financial management

Read more:

  • What Is an Internal Audit? Role and Career Information

  • What Does an Auditor Do? (Plus Steps on How to Become One)

What is the average salary for an internal auditor?

The compensation of an internal auditor is highly dependent on their degree of education, experience and abilities and the position's unique work requirements. Potential earnings may also be influenced by the employer's organisation size, industry and location. The national average salary for an internal auditor is $75,302 per year.

What are the requirements to be an internal auditor?

Securing a career as an internal auditor requires several specific criteria that vary depending on the level of employment you're looking for. However, there are basic criteria that are common to all internal auditor positions:

Education

Most businesses require their internal auditors to have a bachelor's degree or above. You may pursue a degree in accounting, finance or a similar area. Some businesses favour individuals who have a master's degree in accounting or a business administration degree with a specialisation in accounting. Financial accounting, taxation, business communication, auditing and business law are all relevant university courses you could take. You can become a more competitive candidate for senior positions and promotions by obtaining a graduate degree in a relevant subject.

Related: What Can You Do With a Finance Degree? (Plus 14 Common Jobs)

Training

After being hired, internal auditors usually go through a training session. During this period, the business assigns the new recruit to an experienced professional who monitors their work and provides advice based on their specific expertise. The length of this training period varies by the company and specific role, it could be anywhere from a few months to more than a year.

Internships are another way for internal auditors to get experience after, or whilst, completing their degrees. Throughout university, students might do one or more internships. Some post-graduate schools incorporate internships as part of their graduation requirements.

Certifications

Internal auditors might benefit from certifications in their chosen field since they demonstrate professional competence and dedication. Internal auditors can obtain a variety of qualifications to assist them in developing their expertise, which increases their chances of being recruited. You can browse through the available certifications and pursue one that is the best fit for your career goals and needs.

Skills

It's critical for internal auditors to possess a wide range of hard and soft skills in order to be successful in their roles. Below are some of these skills along with further information on them:

  • Analytical abilities: This job requires them to thoroughly evaluate paperwork and assess the company's operations, identifying flaws that might lead to liabilities and recommending solutions to improve.

  • Communication skills: Both verbal and nonverbal communication skills are required. When gathering data and discussing issues, you'll talk to customers, employees, managers and stakeholders. They also communicate the outcome of their work in meetings with management and written reports.

  • Organisation skills: You're able to order your schedule and prioritise tasks in a way that enhances productivity. Maintaining and encouraging correct and effective procedures requires keeping documents and materials organised and accessible.

  • Mathematical abilities: It's critical that you're familiar with accounting procedures. Basic to advanced arithmetic abilities are a prerequisite to good accounting practice. Internal auditors frequently examine and interpret statistics, which may necessitate in-depth examination.

  • Detail orientated**:** It's important that you're precise in your work to guarantee your company remains in compliance. Internal auditors are mindful that a slight mistake can have a major impact on the financial health and reputation of the organisation.

Related: Detail-Oriented Skills: Definition and Tips

Internal auditor work environment

The majority of internal auditors work full time in an office setting. You may find employment in the education sector, in the banking and finance industry or in the government and public sector. During certain periods of the year, such as tax season or the conclusion of the fiscal year, these experts may work more than 40 hours per week. Internal auditors frequently work alone, although they may collaborate with other auditors or accountants depending on the size of the team. The following are the most typical aspects of an internal auditor's working environment:

  • Sitting at a desk for lengthy periods of time while working on a computer

  • Occasionally lifting large boxes of files

  • Communicating with colleagues through email, in person or over the phone

  • Preparing reports on discoveries and presenting that information

How to become an internal auditor

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become an internal auditor:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree in accounting, business, finance or a related discipline is often a prerequisite to becoming an internal auditor. You can take mathematics, business communications, auditing, accounting and business law courses. Specialising in these areas is also a good idea. Consider getting involved in groups and associations that can help you develop your CV, most universities have such services available to the student body.

2. Pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam

Many businesses require CPAs from their internal auditor candidates. If you discover that the jobs you want to pursue require this qualification, you can prepare for the CPA examination and register for a test date. After passing the exam, you can apply for your licence, which requires 150 credit hours of study with a concentration in accounting.

3. Acquire more certificates

If you wish to specialise in a particular type of internal audit, such as IT auditing or auditing for government agencies, you require certain qualifications. These credentials help you become a more competitive applicant while allowing you to expand your knowledge. You can look through the available certifications in the market and choose to pursue those that fit your career objectives.

Related: How To Be a Good Auditor (With Skills and Tips to Improve)

4. Prepare a well-written CV

When you're ready to apply for internal auditor positions, have a compelling and up-to-date CV. Develop clear and succinct entries for your education, industry training, professional certifications and job experience, matching your wording with the job requirements. Be mindful to ensure that your CV is free of grammatical, syntax and formatting errors.

Internal auditor job description example

Here's an example of a job description for an internal auditor:

Our Singapore-based payment processing firm seeks an experienced internal auditor to serve as a trusted independent adviser to management. The ideal applicant is able to apply risk and control principles to a variety of settings while detecting possible problems. This senior role is responsible for executing and completing internal audits as part of our plan in our internal audit department. Outlined below are the candidate requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree, ideally in finance or accounting

  • Professional certificates related to internal auditing (e.g., CPA, CIA, etc.) or a willingness to get these qualifications during employment

  • At least three years of internal audit experience or industry experience with audit process expertise

  • Experience in public accounting or internal auditing preferred

  • Ability to operate successfully both alone and in a high-pressure, team-oriented environment with a high-potential internal audit group

Related: What Is an Audit? (Types and How to Create an Auditing Plan)

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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