The Journey into Internal Audit: Career Advice You Need to Hear

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Multifaceted and varied, the role of an internal auditor brings with it a range of tasks and challenges on a daily basis.

An internal auditor is responsible for providing assurance to a business or organisation that risks are being managed effectively, internal processes are working and the business is being governed properly. 

The internal audit sector can seem particularly complex and highly niche, so if you are looking to make your crucial first steps into the internal auditing industry, it is essential to be aware of how this can best be accomplished.

Internal Auditing: The Qualifications

You can enter internal auditing by a number of routes. Perhaps you have established yourself in an accountancy role and are looking to further progress your career in a large-scale national or international business setting.

Alternatively, you could be looking to map out your educational choices with an internal auditing role in your sights.

Even if you have a glowing CV combined with experience and the right attitude, making an impression when applying for internal audit roles does require a number of essential qualifications. These can make a huge impact when applying for positions in this highly sought-after sector.

Whilst some career requirements can be waived in certain circumstances, an internal audit position does strictly require one of three qualifications:

  • A relevant degree
  • A recognised accounting or auditing qualification (from awarding bodies such as ACA, ACCA or CIMA, CIA, CMIIA)   
  • An IT audit qualification such as CISA

A high percentage of companies will demand one of the above as a minimum requirement, and without this you are unlikely to make it past the application stage.
 

Do I Possess the Right Traits?  

As with any position, a number of personality traits are characteristic of this particular role.

Technical knowledge is a prerequisite for an internal auditing position. However, the varied role is diverse and employers desire a host of key skills, which do have a significant impact on how well candidates can progress up the career ladder.

  • Ability to adapt and vary the style and tone of communication
  • Prioritising workload effectively
  • Striking a balance between the strategy of the business against the needs of the audit
  • A proactive and positive approach to personal goals
  • A good work ethic and a positive attitude

Whilst some of the above may not seem obvious, these key skills will assist you in progressing well within this industry.
 

Internal Auditing: A Day-to-Day Insight

An internal auditor delivers a wealth of value to an organisation, and we have mapped out different aspects of this to offer an accurate understanding of what you can expect to be doing on a day-to-day basis in an internal auditing position.
 

Regulatory Compliance

Ensuring that regulations tied to compliance are strictly followed within an organisation. This ensures that the organisation isn’t faced with unwanted investigations or any of the fines or potential reputational and financial damage that can result from being investigated.
 

Ensuring Best Practice

An internal auditor will add real value to an organisation by ensuring that the business is adhering to best practice at all times. This also involves meeting and communicating best practise requirements from different areas of the business and making effective recommendations.
 

Balancing Risk

A successful internal auditor understands the balance of risk vs the strategic objectives of that business or organisation. This is achieved by creating an audit plan that carefully balances risk and commercial priorities. It also requires the internal auditor to be able to put a stop to ongoing projects if they feel these will damage the business.
 

Internal Audit: A Stimulating Career Choice

Whilst the role of an internal auditor can be challenging, it brings with it a real sense of satisfaction and the opportunity to contribute actively to the safeguarding and protecting of an organisation and its team.

A high level of responsibility coupled with a multifaceted role makes an internal audit position a very popular career choice.

 

This article was written by David Haylor, Managing Director at Internal Audit Connections, specialist recruitment service providers for the audit, risk and assurance community.

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