How to get a job as an Internal Auditor
As career paths go, the internal audit career path is a lucrative one given how high the demand is for Internal Auditors across numerous industries. The more regulated the world becomes across every industry, from banking and financial services to insurance and healthcare, the more driven companies become to reinforce their internal audit function.
Internal Auditors provide the business they work for with objective assessments of its internal controls, risk and compliance strategies, and regulatory and governance processes. They are also tasked with detecting and investigating any fraud within the organisation with the intention of mitigating it.
The typical route into a career in internal audit generally sees graduates with a bachelor’s in accounting, finance, business administration, public administration with accounting or related discipline, find their footing at one of the Big Four consulting firms. This is well regarded as an effective starting point in order to really help you understand what internal audit is all about, and to receive training that is respected across industries.
Investing some of your vacation time while at university gaining work experience with one of the consulting firms will not only give you exposure to great contacts and potential job opportunities, but more importantly will give you a chance to see if internal audit is something you’re suited to and will enjoy.
Internal audit work involves a lot of dealing with external parties, some of whom may not be open to or accepting of the internal audit process. Coming equipped with strong people and communication skills is relatively crucial for internal audit jobs. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate your point effectively both in person and via the reports you write up conveying what you picked up in your engagement. A lot of the technical capabilities of internal audit can be learnt and developed over time but having that innate ability to connect with and relate to other people across the business is deeply important to be successful in the role.
You will need to feel comfortable with challenging other people’s opinions, even those who are senior to you. This is a fundamental aspect of the role of internal audit, to question and investigate and be curious so that you extract the information you need to help the business and uncover their areas of vulnerability. Employers are looking for individuals who are willing to learn and are interested in going beyond what they hear at face value.
Most people working in internal audit will also have likely achieved one or both of the additional qualifications associated with internal audit jobs. The CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) certifications will more often than not be listed in a job description for an internal audit role, however dependent on your level of experience and skillset an employer may not insist upon it. This attitude is reinforced by the fact that there isn’t necessarily one direct route into an internal audit career. Engineers, lawyers, mathematicians and so on may all find themselves in internal audit.
Looking at salary expectations for internal audit jobs, the current average UK salary for an Internal Auditor, according to data from Indeed.co.uk, is around £50,000 per annum. US Internal Auditors can expect to earn a base annual salary of around $80,000 while an Internal Auditor in Germany could be looking at a salary of anywhere between €60,000-70,000.