Internal Auditor

Internal auditors provide an independent and objective assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of a company’s operations, specifically its internal control structure. The internal audit function helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes. The scope of internal auditing is broad and may involve the efficiency of operations, IT controls, the reliability of financial reporting, deterring and detecting fraud, and compliance with laws and regulations. Internal auditors may also conduct compliance and operational audits, offering solutions for weaknesses in internal controls and verifying that all laws and regulations are upheld.  

Benefits of the CFE Credential 

According to the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF), the internal audit activity must evaluate the potential for the occurrence of fraud and how the organization manages fraud risk. The CFE credential provides internal auditors with the knowledge and skills needed to perform this function when evaluating accounting systems, determining the degree of organizational fraud risk and following up on fraud indicators. Internal auditors who are also CFEs are uniquely equipped to ensure that the proper controls are in place to successfully mitigate fraud. Although management and the organization’s board are ultimately responsible for fraud deterrence, internal auditors can assist management by determining whether the organization has adequate internal controls and fosters an adequate control environment. Candidates who have earned their CFE credentials are regarded as leading experts in the field, making them more preferential to many employers. 

The ACFE’s Global Salary Study found that CFEs earn a 34% 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 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) will help in any stage of your career path. Refer to the Compensation section below for more information about the compensation ranges for Internal Auditors. 


Job Types 

Entry-level internal auditors must have the basic skills to review an organization’s processes, operations and goals. Other essential job functions include collecting, analyzing and examining company records to ensure proper compliance based on laws and regulations, and summarizing and preparing findings reports. A bachelor’s degree is usually required, preferably in accounting, finance, business administration or computer information systems. However, internal auditors come from an array of educational backgrounds. 
 
Lead/senior internal auditors understand the organization, provide value-added solutions and are familiar with the industry's best practices. They work with management to monitor internal controls, mitigate risks posed to the organization and provide feedback about audit plans. A bachelor’s degree and three to five years of related experience is usually required. 
 
Internal audit supervisors/managers are required to supervise the auditors on staff, assist in the planning, testing and executing of internal audit activities, and examine and monitor the company’s system of internal controls. A bachelor’s degree and five to eight years of related experience is usually required. 
 
Internal audit executives/chief audit executives (CAE) oversee the internal audit department. They participate in the management and execution of audit plans, and lead and direct the audit team. A bachelor’s degree and eight or more years of related experience, as well as proven management experience is usually required. This position should report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the organization. 

Education

A bachelor’s or master’s degree is required for any level of internal auditor. Many companies encourage obtaining the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and/or Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Other valuable designations include the 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: 

Knowledge Abilities
Business and industry standards Ability to problem solve
Internal controls Critical thinking
Governance, risk and compliance Analytical
Components of financial statements Attention to detail
Accrual accounting Drawing conclusions from raw data
International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) Verbal communication
Sarbanes-Oxley Act Written communication
Computer applications and their functions  

Compensation 

Below are compensation ranges for internal auditors taken from the 2020 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals

 

Compensation chart showing the difference in incomes between CFEs and Non-CFEs