Internal Auditor Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

An Internal Auditor, or IA, is responsible for keeping their employer accountable regarding internal company procedures and industry rules. Their duties include studying accounting records, preparing compliance reports and supervising company workflows.

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Internal Auditor duties and responsibilities

Internal Auditors use skills in organization and project management to better understand the record-keeping processes of an organization, while also offering recommendations for improvement. Internal Auditors have the following responsibilities:

  • Evaluate financial documents for accuracy and compliance with federal regulations
  • Identify the financial risk of the organization and offer recommendations to reduce risk.
  • Identify accounting and financial record-keeping processes that can be improved
  • Determine ways to cut costs and improve profitability
  • Assess the efficiency and productivity of internal staff and make recommendations for improvement
  • Present findings to upper management in the form of reports and presentations
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What does an Internal Auditor do?

Internal Auditors work independently of any single department at a company to act as an impartial judge of company behaviors. Their main role is to provide risk management support and to optimize efficiency by identifying possible noncompliance or sources of waste. They tend to work most closely with accounting materials, but may also audit other aspects of a business such as operational efficiency, employee review processes, information technology systems and legal liability. Internal Auditors study company policies then compare the written rules to actual business activities. They recommend ways to improve procedures or align them more closely with company goals.

Internal Auditor skills and qualifications

Internal Auditors typically have certain skills that will make them successful in their role, including:

  • Strong communication skills to work with Accountants and other coworkers
  • Excellent attention to detail to review large amounts of data and numbers
  • Exceptional mathematical skills to verify entries
  • Good critical-thinking skills to gather all of the available data and make informed decisions
  • Excellent research skills to find all related information needed
  • Proficiency in accounting software and spreadsheets

Internal Auditor salary expectations

The average salary for an Internal Auditor is $86,837 per year. Some Internal Auditor salaries may vary depending on geographical location, level of experience and the industry.

Internal Auditor education and training requirements

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field is often required to work as an Internal Auditor. Some hiring managers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in accounting. Some Internal Auditors may also come from other industries like bookkeeping or business administration. Many accounting students will receive industry training through internships during their education. In addition to a degree, Internal Auditors often earn a Certified Public Accountant credential.

Internal Auditor experience requirements

Previous experience, either in an internship or entry-level position, is often required to work as an Internal Auditor. Some hiring managers may choose to hire candidates with minimal experience whereas others prefer to hire an Internal Auditor who has years of experience in the industry. Additionally, some hiring managers may prefer Internal Auditors who have industry-specific experience. Experience in accounting, business administration or finance can also be useful for Internal Auditors.

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Frequently asked questions about Internal Auditors

 

What is the difference between an Internal Auditor and an Accountant?

Internal Auditors and Accountants both work with financial data, but they serve distinct roles within a company. Accountants keep track of a company’s day-to-day financial transactions and help build systems to handle future budgeting needs. Internal Auditors review the accuracy of these transactions and make sure that existing and new procedures operate in the best interest of the company and its clients. Where Accountants are an active part of internal operations, Internal Auditors provide an external perspective on the impact of accounting behaviors. Accountants collaborate with Internal Auditors to provide them with access to relevant company records.

 

What are the daily duties of an Internal Auditor?

Internal Auditors start a project by creating checklists that describe the structures they will assess, allowing them to outline their expectations and compare them to actual occurrences within the company. They review financial statements, investment reports, employee feedback, inventory volumes and other data that gives them an idea of how a department accomplishes assignments. Internal Auditors attend meetings with clients and internal staff. They give reports and may serve a role in training new staff to ensure they understand how to stay compliant with legal rules and best practices.

 

What are the characteristics of a good Internal Auditor?

Good Internal Auditors have excellent judgment and work ethic, which allow them to identify potential risks or business violations. They are committed to ongoing learning and professional development so they can keep up with evolving industry guidelines and SEC regulations. Internal Auditors stay highly organized at all times and clearly communicate with others about how they can improve their department. Because many departments perform regular year-end audits, Internal Auditors are great at working under pressure and tracking simultaneous deadlines so that their clients can finalize business reports according to schedule.

 

Who does an Internal Auditor report to?

Internal Auditors have a different hierarchy than other employees because their responsibilities aren’t directly governed by their employer. Depending on the structure of the company, an Internal Auditor can report directly to the Chief Financial Officer, the Board of Directors or an external audit committee that their employer formed to limit bias. Some Internal Auditors working on large projects will report to an Internal Audit Supervisor who acts as an intermediary with senior management. Internal Auditors often report to multiple bodies in the event that they discover noncompliance or unethical information about company leadership practices.

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