- What do internal auditors do?
- Internal auditor career path
- Internal auditor salaries
- Qualifications and training
- Internal auditor skills
- Pros and cons of being an internal auditor
- Internal auditor work-life balance
- Typical employers
- Related jobs
Are you interested in a career as an internal auditor? Explore the financial services graduate opportunities available right now.
What do internal auditors do?
Internal auditors work for a company using data to analyse whether any of the company’s activities flout the company’s policies, external regulations or the country’s laws. As an internal auditor, it’s your job to act as a barrier to make sure the organisation doesn’t get into any trouble later on. Here are the tasks that internal auditors do on a daily basis:
- Meeting with departments to discuss the area that you’re working within.
- Research the policies, regulations and laws which relate to the area you’re working in.
- Analysing data to look for any discrepancies or problems.
- Looking into HR policies for the organisation to see the procedure for any issues that arise.
- Compiling your findings.
- Present your conclusions to senior members of the team.
- Submit your written reports to the directors of the organisation.
Internal auditor career path
Since internal auditing deals entirely with the activities of one company, the progression that you have is within the company itself. If you enjoy looking into a company’s activities but want to work with many companies rather than one, you can move into external auditing. If you enjoy looking at the structure and organisation of a company but want to move away from such a high level of data analysis, you can move into management consulting. Here is the career progression that you could have when working in internal auditing:
You begin your career as a junior internal auditor. This role is designed to teach you the skills you need to succeed in your future career. You analyse data, looking into the activities of departments in the organisation. You present your work to senior members of the team and they check it over to make sure it’s accurate and you’re not missing any important pieces of information. You might do some administrative tasks like organising meetings with other departments.
With experience and growth in your skillset, you become a mid-level internal auditor. You’re given more freedom to do your work, doing audits on departments without it being explicitly checked off by a manager. When auditing a department, your work is unbiased and as if looking in from an outside perspective rather than as a representative from within the company.
You become a senior internal auditor after years of work and having had a positive track record. In this role, you’re given responsibility for auditing the biggest departments, working on the most complex projects and reporting your work and the team’s work to senior colleagues. You also make sure junior colleagues are working well and have all the support they need. This means overseeing their work, providing feedback when necessary and training them when they arrive in the organisation.
Internal auditor salaries
Alongside good prospects, internal auditors have room to achieve high salaries. The specific salary that you earn depends on the type of organisation, its size and location and your experience level. Here are the salaries that you could earn in your internal auditor career:
- Entry-level positions like junior internal auditor earn between £25,000 and £35,000 per year.
- Mid-level internal auditors earn between £30,000 and £50,000 per year.
- Senior internal auditors earn between £40,000 and £70,000 per year.
Qualifications and training
Having the right qualifications and training is a great way to get into the internal auditing career path. Here is the education that you need to succeed in this role:
Many internal auditors have an undergraduate degree. Relevant degrees include accounting, finance and some business subjects. Alternatively, you could complete a degree in a maths-based subject and look into more specialised auditing degrees at master’s level. Whilst there are few specific auditing degrees and having a master’s degree isn’t typically a requirement of the industry, it can help you impress a hiring manager and learn the background knowledge that will help you in your career.
An alternative to a degree is going down the apprenticeship route. This means learning how to be an internal auditor by working for an auditing department, being taught by industry experts and people currently working in the field. The benefit of an apprenticeship over a degree is that you learn the specific skills that you need to do the job and get practical, on the job training that you wouldn’t in your degree studies. It’s also free education and pays you a modest salary. If you’re interested in an apprenticeship, you can explore the current opportunities available to you with this government apprenticeship search tool.
Having some work experience is a great way of impressing a hiring manager because it shows you’ve made an effort to learn more about the job before committing to it. You also gain relevant skills that you need to do the job and learn about the working environment. This positions you really well to go into an internal auditing job. A great way of getting work experience is through an internship. If you’re interested in internship opportunities in internal auditing, you can explore the financial services sector internships available right now.
As an internal auditor, you can progress your career and open yourself up to larger salaries through professional qualifications. These are often designed for professionals wanting to expand their knowledge so if you’re a graduate or still in education, a professional qualification might not be relevant to this stage in your career. Read through the description carefully to make sure it’s the right move for you before applying and contact the course administrator if you’re in any doubt.
One professional qualification available to you is becoming a chartered internal auditor. You can do this with the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors. It gives you a great skill set and background knowledge that really helps in your career. The qualification includes study and exams but gives you a great qualification at the end that impresses hiring managers and your employers.
Internal auditor skills
Combining your education with your skills is a good way to impress a hiring manager and get your CV on the top of their pile. Here are the skills that help you in your career as an internal auditor:
- Data analysis. You need to be great at analysing data for this role as your daily work involves finding patterns in data.
- Critical thinking. You should be good at critical thinking and able to read between the lines so you can identify any issues that the organisation may come across.
- Eager to learn. Since your work is organisation-wide, you need to learn about different elements of the business so you know when activities are beyond the regulatory standards. This means you need to be willing and eager to learn about lots of different areas of business.
If you want to brush up on your problem-solving skills, complete this Bright Network Academy creative problem-solving module.
Pros and cons of being an internal auditor
Like any career, there are positive and negative parts of being an internal auditor. Understanding the good and the bad can help you decide if it’s the right career for you. Here are the pros and cons of working in internal auditing:
- It’s a stable career that offers a good salary and a good pension scheme.
- You get to work with many departments throughout a company and learn about all areas of a business.
- There is high demand for internal auditors because of regulation and policy change.
- Your daily work involves a lot of data analysis. This can be repetitive and get monotonous after a while.
- Some of your colleagues may not appreciate the work you’re doing because they feel observed when they’ve done nothing wrong.
- Keeping up with changes in the organisation’s policy, external regulations and laws can be difficult alongside your full-time work.
- If any auditing problems slip through your notice, this could have repercussions later on which may reflect badly on you.
Internal auditor work-life balance
Internal auditing usually requires the standard office hours of 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. Your working hours may exceed these during busy times, for example around tax deadlines, but mostly you should work these standard hours without having to exceed them. This helps you keep a good work-life balance, meaning you can leave the office and go home at a reasonable time.
Since your work is office-based, having good practices of stretching throughout the day, doing some light, appropriate exercise and looking at objects beyond your computer screen can help prevent physical injuries in the long run. Additionally, some of the negative parts of the work, for example, reluctance by your colleagues to engage with you and help your work, may negatively impact your wellbeing. Developing healthy strategies for coping with stress and maintaining a good work-life balance helps you look after your mind as well as your body.
Knowing the types of employers that you could be employed by helps you find the companies you want to target your applications to. Here are some of the typical employers hiring internal auditors: