Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Internal Auditor

Job Description:

Internal auditors are responsible for checking an organization or business’ finances to ensure they’re not being mismanaged. They also provide management with ways of discovering and eliminating waste and fraud. This includes reviewing an organization’s or department’s controls, which are the procedures established by management to avoid operational losses due to error, theft, or technology breakdowns. Information technology auditors are a subset of internal auditors who review the company’s computer systems to check if financial data comes from a reliable source.

Internal auditors typically need a bachelor's degree in accounting, auditing, finance, or economics to qualify for entry-level employment. Once they've worked for at least two years they may take the Certified Internal Auditor exam administered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The IIA also offers the Certified Government Auditing Professional, Certified Financial Services Auditor, and Cerfitied in Control Self-Assessment certifications. These certifications help auditors earn credibility in their field, opens up opportunities for advancement, and can increase earning potential by as much as 40%, according to the IIA.
Median Salary:
The median expected salary for an entry-level internal auditor is $50,336, according to Internal auditors who have four to six years of professional experience earn a median salary of $74,704. Internal auditors who work for large companies have higher earning potential than those with small or midsize companies. These statistics are no guarantee of actual salary, which is determined by a candidate's experience and credentials, state of the economy, location, and hiring agency.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 16% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Auditors are a necessary part of any efficient and organized business model. Internal auditors with special skills in technology and/or IT finance functions, as well as fraud investigation, may have an added advantage in the job market, as the field may continue evolving to favor expertise in these areas. As credit lending institutions tighten their standards and require more frequent and thorough audits to prove credibility to customers, internal auditors may see an increase in career opportunities over the next seven years. According to the BLS an overwhelming majority of accountants and auditors are currently working in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services, with the next largest percentage in finance and insurance. Candidates looking for a competitive edge would do well to pursue not only a top-notch education, but also extensive vocational training and relevant certifications.

Continuing Education:

Internal auditing continuing education programs can provide supplemental professional training to those striving for top-tier skills. Auditors may pursue standard certified public accountant (CPA) certification, but internal auditors may also pursue certification specific to this discipline in particular. Once internal auditors have achieved the necessary credentials, they are required to maintain their certification status regularly, with continued education. Wayne State University, for example, offers courses including compliance, standards of conduct, and communications as part of its continuing education program for internal auditors. Candidates with advanced education, professional training, and specialty expertise may have a shot at exceeding employer expectations and advancing in their field.