Internal auditors are trained accountants who review an organization’s financial statements and transaction history, as well as all related primary source documents, to ensure that the organization has not engaged in any illegal activity. Internal audit managers oversee teams of junior auditors, review their work product, resolve workplace issues between auditors on their teams and provide audit reports to senior management.
How Much Schooling Will I Need?
At the very least, you will need a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited college or university. If you want to increase the breadth and depth of your professional knowledge, you should also consider pursuing a master of science degree in accounting from a graduate business school.
What Will I Need to Study in School?
One of your majors must be accounting. You can study whatever else you may want, but an accounting focus is nonnegotiable. As part of your accounting major, you will likely be required to complete courses in financial accounting, cost accounting, individual federal income taxation, accounting information systems, intermediate accounting, auditing theory and practice, accounting periods and methods, federal income taxation of businesses and professional ethics in accounting. Additional general business education courses such as corporate financial management, microeconomics, macroeconomics, organizational theory and management, financial markets, statistics for business, operations and supply chain management, marketing, commercial law and business management may also be required. Even if they are not required, you may still find them beneficial.
How Do I Get a Job As an Internal Audit Manager?
For starters, you will have to get a job as an internal auditor. Some of the most popular places to do this are Ernst and Young, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG, a group of accounting firms that are often collectively referred to as the Big 4. Landing a Big 4 job is no walk in the park, though especially in larger markets. At a minimum, you will need to have a cumulative GPA of 3.4. In larger markets, a 3.5 may be required, so it is essential that you do whatever it takes—within reason, of course—to get stellar grades. You should also find time between classes and study sessions to get in touch with people who are already working as internal auditors. They will almost certainly be willing to discuss their work with you. In fact, they may even be willing to give you advice or serve as a reference for you when you are trying to find a job.
Where Can I Work As an Internal Audit Manager?
Just about anywhere. Yes, you read that right. Many prospective accountants will set their sights on working at a Big 4 firm, but nearly every type of organization you can imagine needs auditors to review its financial documents to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Cast a wide net in your job search. You will not be disappointed that you did.
If you are a focused, driven person who enjoys working with numbers, is keen on the idea of managing teams of professionals and wants to work in a high-growth field, a career as an internal audit manager may be for you.