Those interested in a career in auditing are taught to verify the effectiveness within an organization and determine whether there is any financial mismanagement, fraud or waste occurring within departments. Degree programs in auditing are most commonly offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, though students can also earn a doctorate in this field of study.
Auditing is typically an area of concentration offered within an accounting, finance or business administration program. Students can expect to learn about internal auditing processes, corporate and individual income tax, cost management and auditing information systems. Graduates can be prepared to pursue positions in corporate finance departments, investment firms, banks, accounting firms or government agencies. Those earning a Ph.D. could consider an academic career at a college or university.
Prospective students enrolling in an auditing bachelor's degree program must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. High school students should focus heavily on classes involving mathematics and business. Students enrolling in the master's program should have a bachelor's degree in auditing, accounting or a related field. MBA programs require students to graduate with a strong grade point average and score on the graduate requisite exam. Ph.D. programs require a MBA in accounting or auditing, satisfactory scores on the GMAT, and letters of recommendation.
Bachelor's Degree in Auditing
Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in auditing learn to analyze financial books and records and compare them with banks, creditors and brokers. This program examines all types of financial records, including payroll records, accounting books and inventory records. As technology advances, this program teaches students to use software applications to monitor financial information in real time, summarize transactions and format financial records.
The program coursework gives students a strong foundation in the financial and accounting principles involved in auditing. The curriculum includes courses in:
- Federal income tax
- Principals of finance
- Business law
- Quantitative methods and analysis
- Advanced financial management
Master of Business Administration with an Internal Auditing Specialization
Those enrolled in an MBA specialization in internal auditing focus on a variety of topics, including evaluating internal controls, assessing risk, compliance laws and detecting fraud. Internal auditing is objective and independent assurance that a company is actively achieving its stated objectives. Graduates of this program are prepared to take the professional certificate exams in this field, which include the certified fraud exam and certified internal auditor exam.
The coursework offers students an opportunity to learn a disciplined and systematic approach to risk management and control systems. Classes include:
- Information systems audit and control
- Fraud examination
- Professional internal auditing
- Strategic cost management
- Accounting for e-commerce
Ph.D. in Finance with an Accounting and Auditing Concentration
A Ph.D. program in finance with an accounting and auditing concentration is responsible for training doctoral candidates to research at the highest level. Students focus on the role of accounting and auditing within a consistently changing economic environment. Research in this field addresses a variety of questions on financial market participants and their accounting practices.
The coursework is broadly based and offers specialized training in various types of businesses while covering numerous accounting and auditing issues. The program may include classes in:
- Quantitative research methods in management
- Game theory
- Decision theory
- Corporate finance
Popular Career Options
Earning an auditing degree prepares students to work as auditors within the government or as internal auditors with companies and organizations. Government auditors work at the federal, state or local government level and ensure that taxes are collected and tax laws are properly followed. Internal auditors review a company's operations to ensure that they run as efficiently as possible and are compliant with government policies.
Students earning an MBA with an internal auditing specialization are prepared for management careers in business organizations or as consultants. Other careers in the field include:
- Internal auditor
- Chief information officer
- Government auditor
Individuals with a Ph.D. in finance with an accounting and auditing concentration have a vast number of career opportunities in settings such as government agencies, universities and private firms.
Salary Info and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) shows that career opportunities for accountants and auditors may grow 11% from 2014-2024. The increase in employment will be due to the implementation of government regulations and financial laws in business and corporate agencies. There is going to be a higher level of accountability involved in protecting stakeholders' investments within a company. The 2015 BLS report states that accountants and auditors made median annual earnings of $67,190.
Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees are available for students interested in auditing through accounting or business programs. Undergraduate students learn about foundational skills in finance and accounting, while graduate students focus on advanced topics covering accounting and auditing issues.