An internal auditor is an accounting professional who acts independently to assess how efficient a company’s internal control structure is. If you would like to work in accounting as a risk management specialist, you may be interested in pursuing a position in internal auditing where you will evaluate financial systems and processes and then consult with managers to make them better. It is not hard to understand the value of an internal audit for an organization, but that still does not explain just what the auditors do.
What is the Difference Between an Internal and External Auditor?
It is very common for people to assume that internal and external auditors do the same things but work for different sides of the equation. This is an inaccurate assumption. While each is an auditor, what is being audited is very different. In most cases, each auditor works outside of the organization to keep the reports as unbiased as possible.
External auditors look at financial statements to assess the financial risks present in an organization. They answer to stakeholders and creditors who have an interest in the company’s cash flow and financial stability. Internal auditing professionals report to the company’s board or to executives. Instead of looking at financial statements, internal auditors look at risk management processes to look for areas that need improvement, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of Internal Auditors?
The fundamental role an internal auditor is to assess risk and how the organization manages risk. To do this, a full internal audit is performed and all processes, systems and internal controls will be thoroughly evaluated. They will collect, analyze and then examine all of the company’s records to see if the company is complying with government regulations. They will also come up with valued-added solutions to mitigate risks or reduce risk management costs.
Once the audit is done, the senior auditor will present the findings report to the board or executives to make the final recommendations. It is not the auditing team’s job to implement the changes that were recommended in the report. The Chief Executive Officer will then meet with the board to decide if making changes to processes and systems would make sense.
What is the Job Outlook for Internal Auditors?
It is wise to research the job outlook in any field before you spend the money on a degree. If you would like to work in internal auditing, you should be happy to hear that the demand for internal services is on the rise. Since there are so many clients who are looking for internal auditing services, the demand for experienced professionals is growing. As compliance and regulation continues to change, the demand will only become larger.
Related Resource: Chief Financial Officer
If you want to secure a position in this specialty area, you should start by earning your Bachelor’s in Finance or Accounting. Once you have your bachelor’s degree you can then work for a Master’s and your professional certification. Becoming a Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner or Certified Public Accountant can help you attract attention. For each of these you will need experience and a specified number of credited. Decide which path you want to go down and start studying for your degree so that you can become a knowledgeable internal auditor.