Auditing is an exciting career possibility for those with an interest in finance, and strong organizational and analytical skills. Auditors typically need at least a bachelor's degree in an accounting-related field, and earning optional certification, such as those offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors, can increase job prospects and/or earnings.
Auditors check financial books. They analyze accounts and guide organizations on the best accounting practices. Most employers require auditors to have at least a bachelor's degree.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Voluntary Certified Internal Auditor and/or Certified Information Systems Auditor credential(s)|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||11% (all accountants and auditors)|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$75,280 (all accountants and auditors)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Educational Requirements for Auditors
Auditors conduct independent assessments of the accuracy of an organization's financial statements. This includes reviewing records and looking for instances of mismanagement. Some auditors may also be responsible for monitoring internal organizational controls, while others may focus more on preparing tax reports.
Apart from examining and evaluating a firm's financial practices, auditors also review a company's operational procedures. While performing these tasks, auditors may assess a program's effectiveness. Since they may become very familiar with a particular industry, auditors may choose a specialization, such as engineering, health care or banking.
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
At the minimum, most employers require job seekers to have a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Coursework typically begins with basic principles in accounting, like financial statements and profit planning. As students advance in the major, they cover more complicated topics, such as internal auditing procedures.
Advanced Degree Programs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some employers may prefer to hire applicants who have completed an advanced degree program, like a Master of Science in Accounting or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in accounting (www.bls.gov). These highly specialized programs allow students more flexibility to tailor their education to their interests. For example, most programs allow students to choose from a wide set of electives that may range from mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to securities regulation.
Some programs also offer students the opportunity to utilize an internship to gain experience with an accounting firm or within the accounting department of an organization. These internships allow students to practice their learned techniques in accounting principles while working with auditing professionals.
Auditors who earn voluntary certification may experience more opportunities for career advancement. The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation is available from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation. To qualify to take a certification exam, candidates must have completed education or experience requirements.
Career and Salary Information
The BLS estimates 11% growth in the number of jobs for accountants and auditors during the years 2014-2024, which is faster than average of all occupations. These workers earned $75,280 as an average annual wage in May 2015, according to the BLS.
A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required to obtain a job as an auditor, but an advanced degree or completion of an optional certification program may help with job prospects. Auditors can expect to enjoy strong job growth and have option of working in a variety of different industries.