If the idea of analyzing, reviewing and evaluating a company’s processes, operations and systems seem appealing to you then you can consider a career as an auditor. Your tasks will include looking into the company’s financial statements and reports to determine if these are accurate, reliable and timely. Aside from evaluating documents to determine the state of health of a company, it is also your job to find out if the firm is following government rules and regulations. You will also be responsible for checking the internal controls of a company to determine if it is doing its job of managing the firm’s exposure to risk. When the internal controls of a company functioning as it should, its assets and data are well-protected. It is your job as an auditor to ensure that these are in place.
Although analytical skills and technical knowledge are absolutely necessary in this job, auditors must also be grounded ethically. You should not be afraid to report irregularities even if the temptation to just let things slide is strong.
One of the reasons why accountants and CPAs become auditors is their desire to truly understand the workings of a company or project at the operational level. The satisfaction of actually being able to study separate documents and connect them in order to derive a clear picture of the state of affairs of the company gives them a sense of satisfaction about the job. Instead of merely calculating numbers and taking care of tax returns, auditors are able to do much more in actually safeguarding a company’s welfare. They get paid handsomely for doing their job, too.
Auditor Work Environment
Auditors normally work in offices of the companies that hire them. Work hours normally range from 35 to 40 hours a week from Monday to Friday. At busy times of the year, they may work longer hours in order to meet deadlines. Auditors need to be independent and courageous enough to stand by their decisions as they can be met with pressure from all sides, particularly if large amounts of money and the reputation of a big firm are involved. Needless to say, the work environment of an auditor is stressful.
An internal auditor in the United States can expect to receive a median annual pay of $77,124. The lower 10 percent can expect to make $61,373. The highest paid auditors get $92,850 annually. When bonuses are factored in, the median salary of internal auditors can go as high as $80,474 each year.
Auditor Career Outlook
The employment outlook for auditors and accountants is about the same as the average for all occupations which is 13 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who have professional credentials, such as CPAs or hold a master’s degree in accounting or related field are more likely to get hired than those who don’t have these qualifications.
Auditors need to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or internal auditing. The latter is a specialized program available only in some universities. To increase their chances of advancement, those who have worked for at least a couple of years as internal auditors can get the Certified Internal Auditor credential from the Institute of Internal Auditors for as long as they are graduates of accredited schools and pass a four-part exam. Auditors who have worked for five years auditing information systems and can pass an exam can enhance their qualifications with a Certified Information Systems Auditor certification from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association Inc.