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Accounting Auditor: Education Requirements and Career Info

Degrees in accounting typically cover topics relating to private business or governmental accounting practices. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for accounting auditor graduates.

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Accounting auditors typically need a bachelor's degree in accounting or a closely related field in order to enter the workforce. Depending on the nature of one's duties, professional certification may be required.

Essential Information

Auditors are accountants who specialize in the process of evaluating financial statements on the part of a business, government or individual to ensure the statements are accurate and the correct accounting methods are being utilized. Some auditors work for government agencies, while others work for various companies. Generally, a bachelor's degree in accounting is required to work as an auditor, and certifications within the specialty can benefit job-seekers. Accounting auditors can either work for the federal or state government or with private companies as an internal auditor. If you are interested in business or government service, and love to crunch numbers then this career might be for you.

Education Requirements Bachelor's degree required, master's degree desired
Other Requirements Certified Public Accountant designation or Certified Internal Auditor designation
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 11%*
Median Salary (2015) $67,190*

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Accounting auditors are usually required to have a bachelor's degree in accounting (or a related field) from an accredited college or university. A master's degree in accounting or business administration can also benefit prospective employees. Many universities and colleges offer degrees in accounting with a concentration in auditing. This type of program includes core courses in business and accounting as well as specialized courses, such as internal auditing.

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Certification Options

In addition to a bachelor's or master's degree, any accountant who files a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission must earn the credential of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Candidates for the CPA credential must pass a rigorous exam and meet the requirements of the particular state where they plan to work. Some states require CPA candidates to have 150 semester-hours of college coursework, which is about 30 hours beyond the requirements for a bachelor's degree.

Beyond earning a degree and the credential of CPA, anyone who desires a career as an auditor should consider becoming certified through a professional organization. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credential to college graduates who have two years of work experience as an internal auditor and have passed an exam. The IIA also offers credentials in other specialties such as Certified Financial Services Auditor and Certified Government Auditing Professional. These certifications indicate a certain level of professional knowledge to prospective employers and can lead to higher salaries for accounting auditors.

Career Info

Accounting auditors can use their skills in several capacities, including working for government agencies or as internal auditors. Government auditors often closely examine the tax records of taxpayers to ensure proper payment has been made to a particular government agency. Local, state and federal government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, employee these type of auditors.

Another career choice for accounting auditors is employment as an internal auditor, who works for private companies in an effort to control spending and verify that the company's accounting procedures are being performed properly and within the law. Usually, these auditors also evaluate a company's financial statements to make the company more efficient and cost-effective.

Salary and Job Outlook Info

Job openings for accounting auditors are expected to increase at a faster-than-average rate from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which predicts job growth of about 11% for accountants and auditors during those years. Job-seekers who have credentials as a CPA (or other professional certifications) should fare better in a competitive job market. In May 2015, the BLS listed the median annual salary for auditors and accountants as $67,190.

Employment opportunities for all accountants and auditors are projected to increase at a faster rate than the national average for all occupations. After earning a bachelor's or master's degree, individuals may consider a further professional credential offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors, as well as CPA certification in some cases.

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