Certified Auditor Job Description, Duties and Career Options

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified auditor. Get a quick view of the requirements, including degree programs, job duties and certification, to find out if this career is right for you.

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While being audited may sound like a bad thing, a company that is audited isn't necessarily in trouble. In fact, many companies hire auditors to ensure that they are meeting government and organizational standards in their financial documentation and taxes. Some companies and manufacturers also hire auditors to help them cut expenditures or even enhance profits.

Essential Information

Auditing is a specialized form of accounting for an organization's financial information, which includes systems, policies and records. Certified auditors handle this data in a variety of ways that range from monitoring to managing. Certified auditors are in demand by many businesses and government agencies. Auditors typically need a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field; certification requires several years of work experience and passing an exam.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in accounting
Other Requirements Certified Internal Auditor credential
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% for all accountants and auditors
Median Salary (2015)* $67,190 for all accountants and auditors

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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What Does a Certified Auditor Do?

Job Description

Certified auditors evaluate the financial operations and records of various organizations for accuracy, efficiency and adherence to government regulations. In addition to monitoring a company's finances, they often make recommendations for greater compliance and better management policies. Auditing is becoming increasingly computer-based because specialized software allows for greater ease in finding data, as well as more objective analysis. This has led many auditors to branch out by developing and implementing the programs to do this.

Certified auditors generally work in offices on a typical 9-5 schedule; however, independent contractors may travel to their clients' offices. Although certified auditors work primarily with figures and data, it is important that they are able to work well with team members, especially when dealing with large projects or working within sizable organizations.

Job Duties

Certified auditors have the qualifications to be either government auditors or internal auditors. Although their basic function remains the same, particular job duties differ by employer. Government auditors either examine federal or state agencies' records or review companies in the private sector. They ensure that taxes are properly and truthfully submitted and paid in accordance with laws and guidelines, such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS). They are also responsible for record maintenance.

Internal auditors are employed by private businesses to identify and examine the controls and standards for their fiscal and management procedures. Responsibilities for this job title include planning the auditing process for a company, which involves compiling and reviewing relevant information, conducting tests and making reports. They specifically examine financial statements, payrolls, inventory and other related records to reveal any illegal activities and opportunities for greater profitability. They submit their findings in reports that provide both detailed analysis and recommendations for improvement or correction. Another important duty of a certified auditor is making sure that taxes are filed correctly and on time.

Career Options

Most certified auditors hold salaried positions in either the private or public sector. Because the scope of a certified auditor's responsibilities can be so broad, many choose to pursue a specialization, such as environmental policy, information systems and compliance. Certified auditors can also find related careers with businesses that provide accounting, tax, payroll and record-keeping assistance. Self-employment and teaching are other options.

Certification gives applicants an advantage in finding employment. Many auditors gain a certified public accountant (CPA) title from the state they practice in; others obtained a certified internal auditor (CIA) title from the Institute of Internal Auditors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of auditors and accountants is expected to rise 11% from 2014-2024.

Certified auditors are people who have completed a bachelor's degree in accounting or specialized field, such as internal auditing, and a separate certification exam. Certification often requires a minimum of 2 years' experience, so internships may be vital to a successful career.

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