Internal Auditor: Salary and Career Overview
Written by: Hilbert College • Dec 12, 2023
Internal Auditor: Salary and Career Overview ¶
Accountants and auditors accounted for 1.5 million jobs in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). During a financial audit, a company enlists the help of an internal auditor to ensure that their financial records are accurate. As an objective voice, they help companies and organizations meet the legal compliance standards using their financial and analytical expertise.
As the economy grows and more businesses launch, demand will remain steady for auditors. Median salaries for this career vary by industry, location and education, but experience and an optional certification may increase salary prospects. Individuals who are interested in pursuing this career can develop foundational knowledge and skills in a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting degree program.
What Does an Internal Auditor Do? ¶
An internal auditor is an accounting professional who independently evaluates a department’s or company’s financial operations. They’re responsible for analyzing various financial data to ensure that the information is accurate and meets state and federal laws.
As part of the auditing process, internal auditors may interview employees, inspect tax returns and expense reports, and oversee employee work schedules. Gathering this information helps them determine the company’s compliance with laws and regulations and the effectiveness of their internal business structure. Upon completion of their audit, they may write a summary or report of their findings and include suggestions for improvement.
The difference between an external audit and an internal audit is placement. External audits are independent of the company, while internal audits occur within the company being evaluated.
When starting off in the field, auditors may collect and examine records and draft summary reports. With experience, auditors may pursue senior, manager and executive positions.
Where Do Internal Auditors Work? ¶
Accountants and auditors may work in offices or from home. They typically travel to meet clients, as well as work individually or as part of a team. The BLS outlines the following common sectors for accountants and auditors, as of 2022:
- Bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation and payroll services: 23%
- Finance and insurance: 8%
- Government: 8%
- Company and enterprise management: 6%
- Self employment: 4%
Internal Auditor Education and Skill Requirements ¶
To get started in the field, internal auditors need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a similar field. In some instances, employers seek candidates with a master’s degree. Aside from a college degree, professional certification may boost a professional’s salary potential, enhance their credibility and widen their career opportunities. The Institute of Internal Auditors offers a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credential. A bachelor’s degree and two years of internal audit experience are required to sit for the credential’s three exams. Bachelor’s degree in accounting programs can help students develop and strengthen fundamental skills that are critical to becoming and working as an internal auditor. The skills below are vital in this career.
Since internal auditors deal with financial data, they rely on their math skills, including advanced calculus and statistics, to interpret and analyze documents, financial statements and budgets. They also need to have a firm grasp of basic accounting principles, such as ratios, debits and credits.
Good organizational skills are essential when working with multiple clients or simply being able to access information quickly. With so much detailed information, auditors will need to sort their digital and paper files systematically.
Strong written and oral communication skills are a must for internal auditors as they consult with clients and relay complex financial information to stakeholders.
Attention to Detail ¶
The work of these professionals relies on accuracy. Internal auditors must have a strong attention to detail to carefully examine their work for errors and prepare accurate documentation for their clients.
Internal Auditor Salary and Job Outlook ¶
The median annual salary of accountants and auditors was $78,000 as of May 2022, according to the BLS. However, actual salaries vary by location, education and industry. For example, auditors working in the finance and insurance industry had a median annual salary of $81,000.
Accountants and auditors are projected to experience a 4% rise in employment from 2022 to 2032, according to the BLS. Some of these job openings are due to professionals retiring or changing careers, but growth for this field is closely related to the economy.
Launch Your Internal Auditor Career With a Bachelor’s Degree ¶
While certification is optional, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education to begin a career as an internal auditor. Programs such as Hilbert College Global’s online BS in Accounting program explore concepts such as ethics, financial statement preparation, business law and advanced accounting. Students in this program gain a comprehensive accounting education that enables them to become a vital asset in any organization. Find out how an online bachelor’s degree in accounting from Hilbert College Global can help prepare you for a career as an internal auditor.