• External Auditor

    External Auditors inspect clients’ accounting records and express an opinion as to whether financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with the applicable accounting standards of the entity, such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). They must assert whether financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The resulting audited financial statements are then examined by a variety of external users, including investors, creditors and government bodies. In addition to performing audits, External Auditors often provide various tax and consulting services. These can be individuals, small businesses, corporations, government bodies or not-for-profit organizations. External Auditors may work for public accounting firms or be self-employed.


    Benefits of the CFE Credential

    According to Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), the External Auditor must brainstorm potential fraud risks during the planning process and then gather information necessary to identify the risk of material misstatement due to fraud. The CFE credential provides External Auditors with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively identify these fraud risks and detect fraud when conducting an audit. Additionally, CFEs are well-equipped to perform data analysis techniques to detect fraud, evaluate accounting systems, determine the degree of organizational fraud risk and follow up on fraud indicators. The CFE credential is preferred by many employers, and External Auditors who have earned it are looked to as leading experts in the field.

    The ACFE’s global salary study found that CFEs earn a 31 percent income premium over their peers without the credential, which demonstrates the value employers place on the credential. The study also provides valuable information and comparisons helpful to all anti-fraud professionals in benchmarking their compensation levels and career growth. The training, fraud resources and continuing education provided by the ACFE will help in any stage of your career path. Refer to the Compensation section below for more information about the compensation ranges for External Auditors.

    Job Responsibilities

    External auditors are responsible for performing a variety of tasks for their clients, including:


    Plan and perform operational and financial audits to ensure that financial statements are fairly presented in accordance with GAAP

    Perform tests of internal controls to ensure effectiveness

    Perform substantive testing of account balances to determine reasonableness

    Prepare and present to management reports on audit findings, which might include material misstatements of financial information or severe control deficiencies, and provide recommendations on improving these shortcomings in the future

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    A bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting, business, finance or a related field is required for any level of an External Auditor. Most public accounting firms require a valid state-issued Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license or the educational qualifications necessary to obtain one upon hiring. Many firms encourage earning the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential as well. Other valuable designations include the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) or Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP).

    Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

    It is important to plan and conduct an honest self-assessment of your knowledge, skills and abilities. In particular, employers are looking for:


    Components of financial statements

    Double-entry accounting

    Journal entries


    Legal compliance requirements

    Computer systems

    Audit/accounting software



    Working in teams






    Written communication

    Verbal communication

    Professional skepticism





    Ability to problem solve

    Attention to detail

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    Below are compensation ranges for External Auditors taken from the 2017/2018 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals:


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