Auditor: Educational Requirements for a Career in Auditing

Auditors check financial books. They analyze accounts and guide organizations on the best accounting practices. Read on to learn more about the educational requirements for a career in auditing.

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Educational Requirements for Auditors

Auditors conduct independent assessments of the accuracy of an organization's financial statements. This includes reviewing records and looking for instances of mismanagement. Some auditors may also be responsible for monitoring internal organizational controls, while others may focus more on preparing tax reports.

Apart from examining and evaluating a firm's financial practices, auditors also review a company's operational procedures. While performing these tasks, auditors may assess a program's effectiveness. Since they may become very familiar with a particular industry, auditors may choose a specialization, such as engineering, health care or banking.

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

At the minimum, most employers require job seekers to have a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Coursework typically begins with basic principles in accounting, like financial statements and profit planning. As students advance in the major, they cover more complicated topics, such as internal auditing procedures.

Advanced Degree Programs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some employers may prefer to hire applicants who have completed an advanced degree program, like a Master of Science in Accounting or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in accounting (www.bls.gov). These highly specialized programs allow students more flexibility to tailor their education to their interests. For example, most programs allow students to choose from a wide set of electives that may range from mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to securities regulation.

Some programs also offer students the opportunity to utilize an internship to gain experience with an accounting firm or within the accounting department of an organization. These internships allow students to practice their learned techniques in accounting principles while working with auditing professionals.

Certification

Auditors who earn voluntary certification may experience more opportunities for career advancement. The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation is available from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation. To qualify to take a certification exam, candidates must have completed education or experience requirements.

Career and Salary Information

The BLS estimated 16% growth in the number of jobs for accountants and auditors during the years 2010-2020. These workers earned $63,550 as a median annual wage in May 2012, according to the BLS.

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