Auditor Job Description
Auditors examine personal and organizational financial records to verify their accuracy, detect fraud, and identify opportunities for improving financial processes. Their specialized experience can often help organizations identify and correct financial inefficiencies.
Most people who work in this occupation can be classified as either internal or external auditors. The basic responsibilities of both classifications are the same, but their daily lives are very different.
Internal auditors are employed by the organization they audit. They examine the organization’s financial procedures, and recommend ways that their financial reporting or internal controls could become more efficient.
In private companies, internal auditors normally report to upper management. But in publicly-traded companies, they report to the board of directors. This is done so that auditors don’t feel pressured by internal forces to manipulate their reports.
External auditors work for an outside firm that organizations hire to examine their financial statements. In some cases, these auditors may work for banks or government agencies who need to examine the financial records of organizations to make sure that money is correctly accounted for.
Work Environment and Schedule
Auditors spend most of their time working in offices, though frequent and extended travel is required for external auditors and consultants.
Jobs in this occupation can require very long hours, especially when a deadline is approaching. Clients don’t always provide the materials that auditors request as quickly as they might like, which can leave them with a lot of information to sort through in a very short period of time.
Because not every client wants to be audited, this can be a stressful occupation at times. Additionally, auditors sometimes have to present bad news that can be difficult to deliver.
However, for people who to love to research and assemble a lot of small parts to tell a larger story, it can be a very rewarding occupation.
How to Become an Auditor
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for auditor positions, preferably in finance, accounting, or a related field. However, it’s becoming increasingly common for employers to seek candidates with a master’s in business.
Certifications are not required for all auditor positions, but obtaining them can lead to a lot of opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers many certifications to auditors. The type of certification you pursue should align with the type of work you want to perform in your career. They offer certifications for government auditors, financial services auditors, internal auditors, and more. All of the certifications are worth pursuing if relevant to your career.
If you work in information systems auditing, ISACA offers a certification specific to the field. Before you can take the exam, you must have five years of experience in information systems.
There are currently 1,216,900 auditors in the United States, with 45,210 new auditor job openings created each year.
Auditor jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Auditor salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most auditors make between $48,900 – $83,200 per year, or $23.52 – $40.01 per hour.