Multiple career doors are going to open up when you get your accounting degree, and it can be hard to decide which job to go into or which certification to work toward if you aren’t sure what each career path entails. If you’re analytical and investigative, and if you also like to socialize, becoming a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) might be the perfect fit for you. To see if you’d be a good fit for life as a CIA, we’re going to answer the question, “What does a Certified Internal Auditor Do?” and explore what their day-to-day schedule looks like.

What does a Certified Internal Auditor Do? The Basics:

The primary role of an internal auditor is to ensure business risks are managed, but CIAs can also improve businesses by providing insights for superiors or clients. Most work internally in organizations, but some work externally for firms contracting out internal auditing.

Primary Responsibilities

Certified Internal Auditors evaluate control efficiency and effectiveness and assure management that the controls can respond to perceived risks. They also evaluate the risks facing the organization to ensure the controls can stand up to them.

Through this evaluation, internal auditors can offer insight and advice to management and the board, ensure financial statement accuracy, improve the operations of the company, and promote ethics within the organization.

If you’re looking for diversity in your day-to-day work, becoming an internal auditor would be perfect for you because each day is different. Between planning, overseeing and closing different projects, the variety is endless for a CIA.

A Day in the Life of a Manager

Managers work at a high level and across all facets of a project. A typical day begins with checking email and communicating with upper management, clients, and staff to gain information and resolve any issues. Truly though, each day is different, especially for a manager.

In the project planning phase, a managing Certified Internal Auditor might be reaching out to clients to get information and working with staff to create budgets and schedules. During the overseeing phase, a managing CIA will check with staff to make sure the project is on schedule and on budget, and if it isn’t, she will dig into why. She’ll also be looking at any findings as they come about, and communicating them to management to consider next steps. During the closing stage, a managing CIA helps finalize audit reports and communicate them to management.

A Day in the Life of a Staff

Similar to a manager’s day, a staff day usually starts with checking email and gathering information on daily tasks before setting out to do fieldwork or work on reports.

Although the day-to-day is generally less varied than a manager’s day, staff are also involved in the planning, execution and wrap-up of audit projects. However, staff are involved more in fieldwork, including control testing. The manager usually delegates tasks to staff and it’s a staff’s job to ensure she is getting projects done as scheduled and on budget.

Essential Skills of a CIA

Certified Internal Auditors need to be analytical problem solvers. They need to be able to dig into the details and fix weaknesses and inefficiencies. On the flip side, CIAs need to be effective communicators. As we mentioned before, internal auditors have to explain their findings to management, and they need to do it in a way that is understandable. They also need to suggest solutions that are both understandable and achievable. It’s therefore critical they can communicate well with a variety of populations.

Becoming a CIA will lead you on a path to a rewarding career where you not only get to help your organization, but you can see your recommendations become actions. To learn more about the CIA certification, check out our page covering the exam and what to expect.

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