Why Internal Audit jobs might be right for you
If you have an interest in finance jobs and mad organisational skills, Internal Audit jobs might be perfect for you. Today the Job Mail team talks a little bit more about what an Internal Auditor is and what the job requires from applicants.
What is internal auditing?
Internal auditors are the referees of an organisation. Through internal controls and governance, internal audits analyse organisational risks and ensure compliance with policies. An internal auditor is expected to act with integrity and accountability in giving independent advice to management, the board and the audit committee.
This advice helps the organisation mitigate against any organisational risks, stop malpractices, and overall, improve the efficiency of an organisation.
While internal auditing has a financial focus in terms of assessing financial risks from an organisation’s financial statements, it is a very broad job that goes beyond the scope of reviewing an organisation’s financial statements.
This requires an individual to acquire a depth of knowledge and understand their company’s internal management structures and how they can lend a hand to risk-management.
What does an Internal Auditor do?
On a day-to-day basis Internal Audit jobs can include:
- Carrying out research on organisational risks and identifying changes in market and economic trends that may have an adverse effect on management policies and the organisation in general,
- Providing advice and guidance to management to ensure the risk management practices are designed to improve operational effectiveness,
- Carrying out the preparation of reports highlighting key issues within the organisation to executive management and the board, and
- Reviewing organisational compliance to industry relevant laws, policies and regulations as applicable.
This wide array of job activities makes internal auditing a very exciting career option for individuals who enjoy career flexibility, analysis, working under pressure, and working in an environment where you are constantly challenged and expected to constantly learn and improve. However don’t get too excited just yet- while you will retain a certain level of independence in your day-to-day job, these types of finance jobs do require you to report to management.
Internal Auditors and External Auditing
While many people associate auditing with the assessment of an organisation’s end of year accounts, it is important to note that there are key differences between external auditing and internal auditing.
Whereas the former is an audit of an organisation’s financial statements and determining whether these financial statements give a true and fair view of what is happening within the organisation. Internal Audit jobs have much broader duties that goes beyond the scope of auditing financial statements.
Internal auditing acts as an internal buffer against fraud and mitigates between financial and non-financial risks and objectives. Unlike an external auditing, these jobs are carried out from within the organisation, and thus internal auditors are either employed or outsourced by the organisation requiring their services.
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Alternative career options in Finance
One of the best things about internal auditing is the wide breadth of career options the job affords you. After acquiring enough professional experience in a commercial environment, internal auditors may move up to managerial roles, leading to job titles such as Finance Manager, Head of Finance and Operations or Financial Controller.
As an alternative, internal auditors, depending on their level of experience and training, sometimes pursue other finance jobs in South Africa outside of auditing such as risk management, information security management, tax consultancy and ethics and internal compliance to name but a few.
Needless to say this is a job that comes with a certain level of job certainty. There are a number of sectors that need internal auditors including, government institutions, large commercial corporations, mining companies, and non-profit organisations across all industries.
According to a study carried out by the Bureau of Labour Statistics in the United States, the employment growth of professions such as accounting and internal auditing is directly related to the health of the overall economy.
Your prospects of finding well compensating employment as an internal auditor will be directly linked to South Africa’s economic health, but as you acquire more working experience, more employment opportunities may open up for you both locally and abroad.
Qualifications and Internal Auditor Courses
According to the Institute of Internal Auditors of South Africa, to become an internal auditor, one needs to first acquire an academic qualification in accounting or in a related field such as finance and management information technology from an academic institution endorsed by the Institute of Internal Auditors of South Africa.
After acquiring the required academic qualifications, there are two routes one could take to become qualified for Internal Audit jobs.
If you have at least two years of working experience in the accounting field or have served your South African Institute of Chartered Accounting articles but have not become a Chartered Accountant you can opt to go through the Internal Audit Technician Recognition of Prior Learning Assessment process (IAT RPL).
This is a rigorous process designed to determine your level of competency in accounting and internal auditing. Once you complete this process you would then be expected to proceed with the Professional Internal Auditor Recognition of Prior Learning assessment (PIA RPL). Much like the IAT RPL, this is another process to determine your level of competence.
The PIA RPL is normally a 12 month program, and after completing the required program you are expected to sit for an exam to test how much you learnt. After completing the PIA RPL process you would then be required to, as the final step, complete your Certified Internal Auditor course certification.
If you have not however acquired any work experience, you would be required to pursue what is regarded as the preferred route – completing the Internal Audit Technician Program, receiving an Internal Audit Technician designation, becoming a fellow member, completing the Professional Internal Auditor Professional Training Program, writing and passing the Professional Internal Auditor exam, and completing the Certified Internal Auditor Program and acquiring certification.
Where can I study to become an internal auditor?
There are a number of academic institutions you can enrol in to pursue a career in internal auditing or even in other finance jobs. In order to acquire the initial academic qualification, you can choose to study at Universities such as the University of Western Cape, University of Pretoria, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Stellenbosch, UNISA, University of KwaZulu-Natal or any other reputable academic institution.
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Internal Auditor Salary and Benefits
Internal auditing is not just fulfilling from a professional perspective, it also comes with some financial security. According to industry averages, the entry level internal auditor salary is around R 200 000 per annum.
As you gain more experience in the field, that internal auditor salary can increase to as much as R 464 000 per annum. As a result of disparities in average income per city and the availability of a greater variety of companies, internal auditors often opt to look for jobs in Johannesburg to increase their potential earning and expose themselves to greater professional opportunities, however opportunities can be found in any city as an internal auditor.
Ready to start applying for finance jobs? Look for exciting and rewarding Internal Audit jobs on Job Mail now!