Internal Auditor Salary and Career Profile
Internal auditors often pursue careers with private or public companies, financial institutions, and federal, state, and local governments. These professionals help ensure that companies are run efficiently and public records are accurate. They also analyze and communicate financial information, and make sure tax returns are filed on time.
Job Outlook for Internal Auditors
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for accountants and auditors are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment will increase as the number of businesses grows, as new financial laws and corporate regulations are implemented, and as awareness of accountability at the organizational level increases.
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and other certification holders will have the best internal auditor career opportunities. Those with advanced degrees may also enjoy an advantage.
Internal auditors check for waste and fraud throughout an organization. They examine financial records and procedures, and establish controls to increase accuracy and efficiency within a company’s operations. Internal auditors use specialized software to track data in real time. They may also verify the integrity of the data and ensure the reliability of an organization’s computer system.
Some internal auditors’ careers are spent on more technical aspects of the job, such as developing technology plans and controlling, implementing and auditing computer systems and networks. Those with strong computer skills may even specialize in developing auditing software to meet the data analysis needs of industries and organizations.
Internal auditors often work in offices. Some may work from home. Travel is sometimes required of internal auditors whose careers are with public accounting firms, government agencies and multiple-location organizations.
Internal Auditor Salary Potential
The BLS reports that in May 2009, accountants and auditors earned a median salary of $60,340, with the middle 50% earning between $46,740 and $79,470. While the lowest 10% made about $37,690, the highest 10% brought in $104,450 per year. Recent bachelor’s graduates will generally start out toward the lower end of the range, although those who have passed the CPA exam will generally start out higher. The top salaries generally go to those with the most experience, certifications and specialized training.
Education and Training
Most internal auditor positions require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Many professionals choose to become CPAs or attain the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation to advance their internal auditor careers. Some employers prefer to hire an applicant with a master’s degree in accounting or an MBA with a specialization in accounting. Previous experience in accounting is attractive to many employers, and can be obtained through summer jobs or internship programs while pursuing a degree in accounting.
The first step to an internal auditor career generally begins with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Employers can be confident that graduates of an accounting education program are able to:
- Accurately conduct internal auditing procedures.
- Adhere to the latest industry rules and regulations.
- Use computers and specialized software to conduct auditing tasks.
- Investigate financial records and identify instances of fraud and waste.
- Apply knowledge gained from a bachelor’s program toward an advanced degree or industry certifications that may be required for certain jobs.
Your Path to an Internal Auditor Career
Becoming an internal auditor takes a commitment to pursuing an education in accounting, as well as to upholding standard principles and eliminating fraud. Internal auditors need a variety of strong career skills, like critical-thinking, communication, decision-making and complex problem-solving abilities. If you possess the integrity and intelligence to pursue an internal auditor career, it can be a very satisfying choice.