What Does An Internal Auditor Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Internal Auditors

Internal Auditors provide auditing services to companies. They often perform operations analysis and compliance review before providing the client with recommendations.

Bachelor's degree

Working as an Internal Auditor may offer a little more variety compared to many other careers in Accounting or Finance. You get to work with a wide range of companies in many industries.

As with many professional careers, becoming an Internal Auditor requires a college degree. Along with extensive education, you may need to work your way up from entry-level positions. Becoming an Internal Auditor may take many years, but it is a growing field.

What they do

Internal Auditors provide auditing services to companies. They often perform operations analysis and compliance review before providing the client with recommendations.

Analyze and Audit Financial Data

Internal Auditors are specialized Accountants and are primarily used to analyze and audit financial data. An Internal Auditor may need to audit the company’s financial records each quarter to ensure that the records do not contain any discrepancies.

Internal Auditors may also audit the budgets for individual departments. For example, when a project exceeds its budget, the company may use the Internal Auditor to determine how the team used their available funds.

Perform Operations Analysis Audits

An operational analysis audit is completed to evaluate the efficiency of business processes. The audit helps upper management ensure that employees are following all defined business procedures correctly.

Companies may also use operations analysis audits to detect bottlenecks in productivity or verify that existing processes support the company’s goals and objectives.

Complete Compliance Audits

Internal Auditors complete compliance audits to ensure that companies comply with all necessary regulations or procedures. This may include federal regulations, industry standards, and internal business standards.

A compliance audit may look for noncompliance in financial processes, such as financial reporting or employee tax requirements. A compliance audit may also be used to ensure that the company is following all health and safety regulations, as noncompliance may result in severe penalties.

Audit Risk Mitigation Procedures

Major organizations have risk mitigation procedures to help minimize the impact of potential setbacks, such as an unsuccessful product launch, corporate litigation, or data theft.

Internal Auditors review risk mitigation procedures to evaluate their effectiveness. If the company’s assets or objectives are not properly safeguarded, the Internal Auditor provides detailed recommendations for mitigating risks.

Use Spreadsheets and Software to Analyze Data

Internal Auditors have a variety of tools available for compiling data for their audits, including spreadsheets and specialized computer software.

Due to the technical nature of this job, Internal Auditors should have strong computer skills. They often need to enter vast amounts of data into computer programs to analyze information.

Create Detailed Reports for Each Audit

No matter the type of audit, the Internal Auditor compiles the data into a detailed report, which may also include recommendations and advice for correcting any issues uncovered during the audit. The Internal Auditor may also provide an executive summary, highlighting the main findings for stakeholders.

What is the job like


You Get to Work in an Office Setting

Internal Auditors work in comfortable settings, such as office buildings.

You Can Explore Various Specializations Within Your Field

After gaining experience, you can start focusing on specializations within this field to explore other job opportunities.

You May Get to Travel for Work

When working for an organization with multiple offices, you may get to travel for work and visit different cities.

You Can Always Find Work as an Accountant

Internal Auditors often have a background in accounting, giving them another career to fall back on.


People May Dislike the Results of Your Audits

Management may not always enjoy your findings, which can put you in a difficult position.

You May Struggle to Find Your Place Within the Organization

Many Internal Auditors feel separated from upper management and general employees, making it difficult to establish work relations.

Where they work

Manufacturing firms
Health care organizations
Tech companies
Logistics companies

Internal auditors typically work in industries with complex daily operations. Unlike External Auditors, Internal Auditors are employed by the company that they audit. Major national and international organizations in competitive industries are more likely to hire Internal Auditors. Common industries include manufacturing, health care, technology, logistics, and communications. However, many Internal Auditors start at accounting firms to gain experience.

How to become one

Step 1: Study Math in High School

Internal Auditors often start as Accountants, requiring strong math skills.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Internal Auditors need at least a Bachelor’s degree to enter this field. Common majors include Accounting and Finance.

Step 3: Consider Earning a Master’s Degree

Some employers may prefer candidates with Master’s degrees for senior positions. Suitable Master’s programs include Accounting and Business Administration.

Step 4: Obtain Industry Certifications

Internal Auditors require several certifications for advancement. The most common certifications include Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

Step 5: Seek Entry-Level Positions

After earning certifications, seek entry-level work in your field. You may need to start in the accounting department or as a Junior Internal Auditor.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Organizer

People with this personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Honesty is one of the most important personality traits for Internal Auditors, as they need to provide an objective analysis when completing internal audits. Internal Auditors must also be strong-willed and able to deal with others discrediting their findings, as this job occasionally involves uncovering faults that others do not want to address. Internal Auditors also require critical-thinking skills, due to the need to analyze business operations from a variety of perspectives.

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