Careers in accounting and business often lead future and current professionals to consider how to become a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). The CIA designation is beneficial for auditors in all types of organizations who are looking to advance in their career and for recent graduates looking for ways to illustrate competency and skill.
A future professional in internal auditing will likely be required to complete the Certified Internal Auditor certification, and a minimum of an undergraduate degree is required. The majority of undergraduate programs are business degree plans with a concentration in internal auditing. Students gain general business operations knowledge in addition to skills in performing audit tasks. Common courses include statistics, economics, financial analysis, accounting information systems, and accounting ethics.
In a graduate degree program, students focus on developing skills with auditing technologies, analysis of financial reports, and learning practices for transparency to best fulfill requirements for internal auditor positions. Some common courses at the Master’s degree level quantitative analysis in financial decision making, advanced financial reporting, multinational corporate finance, and federal taxation of individuals and corporations.
In addition to meeting the education requirement for certification, the courses completed in an undergraduate and graduate degree program are beneficial for preparing for the Certified Internal Auditor examination, which must be successfully completed to obtain certification.
Certified Internal Auditor Examination
There are four sections to the Certified Internal Auditor examination. In the first section, topics include audit planning and audit activity. Part 1 requires for test takers to have knowledge in governance, risk, and control, specifically in terms of the role of internal auditing in those activities. In the second section, questions for topics in how to conduct an internal audit are answered. In the third section, test takers identify various business analysis and information technology concepts. The fourth section of the test requires knowledge in business management skills.
Additional information on the questions on the CIA examination can be found at The Institute of Internal Auditors website.
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Additional Requirements for the CIA Certification
To begin the process to take the CIA certification examination, candidates must first meet a set of additional criteria. In addition to the education requirement, CIA certification candidates must be able to provide a minimum number of years of work experience. Bachelor’s degree graduates are required to have 24 months of work experience, and graduates with a Master’s degree are required to have 12 months of work experience in order to apply to take the certification examination.
Additionally, applicants for the CIA certification examination are required to submit character references and proof of identity. These, along with official documents such as conferred transcripts, are reviewed, and then an applicant is granted or denied the opportunity to attempt the examination.
Internal Auditing Positions
After successful completion of all of the requirements for the CIA certification, there are a number of opportunities to advance into senior internal auditor positions and management. All types of companies and organizations employ internal auditors, including health care, manufacturing, education, non-profit groups, and government agencies.
Accounting is a diverse field with a number of options for career paths. When considering these options, the opportunities for the auditing profession are opened up when choosing to become a Certified Internal Auditor.