What Does an Internal Auditor Do? (Skills and Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Internal auditors are professionals who evaluate an organisation's governance, risk management and operational and business activities. This field offers a lot of career paths in various industries. Gaining knowledge about the key responsibilities of an internal auditor may help you decide if you have an interest in this field and if this can be the career choice for you. In this article, we discuss what does an internal auditor do, the responsibilities of an internal auditor, and the skills and requirements to become one.

What does an internal auditor do?

If you are considering becoming an internal auditor, it may be helpful to learn the answer to the question, "What does an internal auditor do?" An internal auditor is a professional who provides a disciplined and systematic assessment of the risk control management and governance process of the organisation. They have a detailed knowledge of various accounting procedures and provide rational judgment. An internal auditor examines and evaluates the organisation's process, reports their findings to the higher management and suggests possibilities of improvement and corrections in the same. An internal auditor adapts the below approaches to evaluate the organisational process:

Operations analysis

An internal auditor analyses operations and procedures closely and confirms if the organisation is following all the procedures correctly as per their objectives and goals. After screening procedures and processes, they create a detailed report and share their findings with other auditees to provide pertinent and accurate recommendations. They share their suggestions with the organisation. If followed properly, it helps the organisation adhere to the process more closely.

Compliance review

An internal auditor educates senior management about staying in compliance with current legislation and regulations. They also make them implement strategies to follow the procedures correctly. They represent the instances and signs when the organisational processes are non-compliant. Also, they give detailed explanations to the leadership about the impact of being non-compliant on the organisation.

Control recommendations

Internal control is a critical component of the management process that helps to keep the organisation on its path to achieve its mission and objectives. An internal auditor evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of these controls. They identify if these controls can actually mitigate the risks that may threaten the organisation.

Safeguard assurances

An internal auditor review the strategies organisation follows to protect its assets. They analyse if they implemented appropriate safeguards to protect these assets. If during the audit, the auditor finds the organisational assets under any risk, they recommend the changes.

Responsibilities of an internal auditor

Below are a few responsibilities of an internal auditor:

  • create audit plans

  • collect, analyse and evaluate accounting information

  • prepare and share reports reflecting audit results

  • share advice assuring organisational processes comply with law and regulations

  • find loopholes and suggest risk aversion and cost savings techniques

  • keep open communication with the audit committee and higher management

  • plan follow-up audits

  • comply with audit standards

  • recommend ways to improve the process

  • implement controls to safeguard against theft of assets and fraud in the organisation

Skills of an internal auditor

An internal auditor has below soft and hard skills to carry out their job efficiently:

Communication skills

Internal auditors work with different stakeholders in the company, so they need impressive communication skills. They listed to managers, customers and different stakeholders while discussing concerns and discovering facts. Also, they discuss the findings of their audit with managers and senior leadership and also prepare written reports to share with management.

Analytical skills

Internal auditors find problems in the documentation and suggest effective and appropriate solutions. This field of work demands the auditors to thoroughly examine the documentation and analyse the process, identify issues that can cause liabilities and suggest ways measures to improve. To perform their duties efficiently, auditors need analytical mindset.

Read more: Analytical Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

Organisational skills

Internal auditors work with a wide range of financial paperwork, which demands good organisational skills. To maintain and promote efficient and accurate processes in the company, it is necessary to keep paperwork and documentation organised and easily accessible.

Read more: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

Mathematical skills

To be an internal auditor requires basic mathematical skills and excellent knowledge of accounting. They may get to do an in-depth analysis of statistical figures. Internal auditors present the report of the outcome of their analysis with the stakeholders.

Attention to detail

Internal auditors prepare documentation and ensure their work is accurate, so that company stays compliant. To do so, internal auditors require to be detail-oriented. This also requires them to be careful while examining and compiling the financial statements and other documents.

Read more: Attention to Detail: Definition, Examples and Tips

Requirements to become an internal auditor

Below are some basic requirements to become an internal auditor:

Education

Most employers expect internal auditors to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. The degree can be in disciplines like finance, accounting or any other related field. Some employers even prefer candidates having master's degrees in business administration, accounting, auditing, business law or taxation. There are some universities that have special specific programs with specialisation in internal auditing.

Training

Internal auditors require doing training after getting hired. During their training period, they work with experienced professionals who guide them as per their experience and supervise their work. The training period depends upon the firm, but it can vary from a few months to a year.

Internal auditors can also do training via internships during their undergraduate or graduate degree. They get practical experience during internships in the field of their interest. Students can also pursue more than one internship during their college. There are some post-graduate programs where internships are part of their curriculum plan.

Certifications

Pursuing a certification gives a competitive advantage to the internal auditors in the job market. Certifications show your dedication and professional competence. There are many certifications available to become a certified internal auditor which enhances their chance of getting hired. A few certifications are as below:

Certified Internal Auditor

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IAA) offers Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification to professionals with a bachelor's degree or master's degree. To be eligible for CIA certification, candidates meet the minimum criteria of two years if they have a bachelor's degree, one year if they have a master's degree and five years if they have an associate degree. Along with this, they appear and pass a four-part exam.

Certified Government Auditing Professional

Along with CIA, IAA also offers Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) certification for experts who aspire to work for a government firm as an internal auditor. To pursue this certification, professionals meet the minimum criteria of having an associate degree from an authorised institute. Once a candidate passes the exam, they qualify after meeting the minimum requirement of work experience.

Work environment of internal auditor

Mostly, internal auditors work as full-time employees in the office in different industries, such as banking, education, corporations and others. They spend long hours sitting at their desk and working on computers. Their working hours may increase during quarter ends or budget year-end. They work alone or with other professionals like accountants, finance experts or other auditors depending on the project they are handling. They communicate with stakeholders in person, via email or by phone. In their daily activity, they conduct internal audits, prepare reports and present their findings to the management.

Salary of an internal auditor

On average, an internal auditor earns an average base salary of ₹22,816 per month. The average salary you may earn as an internal auditor depends upon your education qualification, geographical location and experience. For example, an internal auditor in Delhi earns an average salary of ₹37,199 per month, a Mumbai based internal auditor earns an average salary of ₹38,515 per month and an internal auditor working in Karnataka may earn an average salary of ₹31,612 per month.

Example of Internal auditor job description

Our information technology-based company in Karnataka has a job opening for an experienced internal auditor. The applicant works as an independent advisor to senior management. They have knowledge of control and risk mitigation concepts and create strategies to improve the existing process to keep the company compliant with legal rules and regulations. They can conduct and complete internal audits and represent findings to board members.

Requirements in a candidate:

  • master's degree in business administration with knowledge of finance and accounting

  • have CIA or CGAP certification, or willingness to complete certification while working

  • 2 years of professional working experience as an internal auditor and knowledge of public accounting

  • able to work in a high-pressure environment, willing to work in a team

  • capable of conducting internal audits individually and in a group

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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