How Long Does It Take, What Degree Do You Need, and More
Auditors examine and analyze accounting records to determine financial status of establishment and prepare financial reports concerning operating procedures.
Table of contents
|Duration to become one
|Difficulty to become one
Auditors typically require at least a Bachelor’s degree, although to advance in the field you’ll need more advanced degrees. Likewise, you’ll need a CPA or similar certification, though with more advanced certifications come better chances at advancements. You’ll want to focus on degrees and classes that are most relevant to the field, especially those on accounting itself as well as Mathematics, Statistics, Business, and Finance.
Step 1: Make Sure You’re a Good Fit
First, you need to make sure that auditing is really right for you. Auditors tend to have a few key personality traits and work skills. They are typically detail-oriented, math-savvy, good communicators, and have a thirst for analytical work and a competitive atmosphere.
Step 2: Get the Proper Education
While an associate’s degree can help you get started, if you are really serious about becoming an auditor you’ll need at least a Bachelor’s degree to find employment. This is in all likelihood a four-year degree and typically takes about 120 credits to achieve. However, if you have gone for an associate’s degree first, that should cover the first 60 credits.
It is worth noting that, while in-person classes remain the leading way to get such a degree, online accounting classes are becoming more popular.
For example, you can pursue a Master’s or PhD in Accounting to further your career by delving more into the theory and more advanced side of the practice.
Step 3: Get the Proper Licensure and Accreditation
After you have obtained at least a bachelor’s in accounting, you’ll next need to get a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) license. These are granted through individual State Boards of Accountancy. States use a uniform examination crafted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Step 4: Intern for Experience
While you are studying for your degree, you’ll want to intern to gain experience. Interning can give you the kind of hands-on experience that only comes with working in the industry itself. This can also allow you to forge connections with which to further your career. What’s more, because firms often hire full-time auditors from their intern pools, interlining today can mean a stable auditing job tomorrow if you’re a good fit for your firm.
Step 5: Determine Your Specialization
While pursuing your degree and gaining experience via internship, you’ll want to give some thought to the auditing field in which you wish to specialize.
As an auditor, you can have an immense amount of insight into the inner workings of a company’s financial situation, which you can employ in a variety of ways. Whether you work for the company itself, for an independent agency tasked with reviewing the finances of a third party, or the government and are looking into the legal side of things, you are tasked with using your financial knowledge for good. Your potential range of clients are also quite broad – you can help everyone from individual clients to major companies to the state and federal agencies.
Financial transactions can be complicated, especially when they involve large sums of money or specialized financial actions undertaken by and between companies. Auditors can help ensure the legality of these transactions.
Paying taxes can be difficult, in no small part because of the labyrinthine nature of the tax code. Auditors and accountants frequently help people navigate the tax code and pay their taxes. They can help prepare your tax returns and ensure that they are paid on time. In addition, they are frequently able to find deductions and other methods by which they can lessen the amount they have to pay.
Everyone makes mistakes – but when they involve corporate or personal finances, a small mistake can become a huge headache. Auditors work to alleviate those headaches or ensure they never happen by reviewing your books and correcting any mistakes they find.
Step 6: Advance Your Career
As alluded to, an MA or Ph.D. can help you advance. Becoming a member in prestigious organizations such as the IIA can give accountants and auditors advantages in seeking advancement by keeping them up to date on new education, training, and employment opportunities, as can similar peer-driven accountancy groups.
Advancement can allow you to take on even more demanding roles.
For example, if you have a strong sense of morals, you might wish to put your skills to work as a forensic accountant or auditor. These professionals work together with law enforcement to investigate embezzlement, securities fraud, and other financial crimes. They can also review matters such as contract disputes and bankruptcies and help to determine the righteousness or wrongfulness of one or more sides’ claims. Auditors and accountants can also serve as expert witnesses during trials.
Auditors do not just review the finances of the firm for which they work. External auditors serve as outside agents who can be called upon to objectively review another organization’s finances. This can include reviewing their books and checking into the sources of their revenue streams to ensure everything is on the up and up. It can also mean helping companies identify potential risks or problems with their supply chain or cybersecurity situation regarding their financial situation.
Due to their in-depth knowledge of the financial system, auditors and accountants are able to speak with greater authority on the efficiency as well as the efficacy and legality of financial transactions than most other individuals. As a result, auditing can mean conducting in-depth analyses of a company’s finances and preparing reports that can then be used for everything from paying taxes and reducing tax liability to improving a company’s fiscal efficiency to reviewing and approving transactions.
What degree do most Auditors have
We did a survey to ask other Auditors what degree they had when they first became one. Here are the results.
How long does it take
You will need a four-year Bachelor’s and auditing experience at minimum to qualify for a proper auditor job. That said, you’ll typically need several years of experience beyond your degree (either as an intern or in an entry-level job) to be seriously considered for a proper auditing job.