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An internal auditor ascertains compliance with SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley). They also monitor and test for risk potential in current managerial policies, processes, and information technology. An internal auditor may achieve one or more certifications in different areas. For instance, an internal auditor may be a CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), or CISA (Certified Information Systems Analyst). Certification is not required to work as an internal auditor. The highest level of achievement for an internal auditor is known as the CIA - Certified Internal Auditor. This certification is obtained by passing a professional examination. The professional exam is given by the Institute of Internal Auditors and consists of four parts. Prior to obtaining the designation of a CIA, a CIA candidate must work two years as an internal auditor.
An accounting job opening involves the recruiting for an open accounting job. The accounting job opening is a job description, or 'want ad'. The position is available for immediate hire on either a contract, direct-hire or contract-to-hire bases. Either way, the company is intent of hiring for this position. AccountPros specializes in placing accounting and financial professionals with many job openings listed online. Many Audit Agencies pay for their CPA Applicants'/employees review courses and exam fees. They also may pay for continuing education and advanced studying. Obtaining an auditing job in any Audit Agency is usually more time-consuming than the private sector. Resumes need to be more detailed, job titles differ, and jobs are given class numbers. Career openings can also be found in trade journals, at job fairs, online resume services, and via individual Agency online websites. Plus, an inquiring phone call to your preferred Audit Agency regarding career openings can never hurt.
External auditing services consist of expressing an independent opinion on an entities effectiveness regarding compliance with company policies and procedures. External auditors attest to the fairness and reliability of the firm's records that support the financial statements. An independent findings report is prepared and submitted with financial statements.
Some of the auditing services provided by external, independent auditing includes making recommendations for improvement, risk assessment, IT system efficiency, present findings to management, bookkeeping, operational audits, and ascertain SOX compliance. They can also provide tax consulting in a variety of areas.
External auditors, in private practice, follow the auditing guidelines set forth within GAAS. GAAS stands for Generally Accepted Auditing Standards. They also must know, understand, and follow GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) to ascertain management's compliance.
External auditors in public practice (governmental) adhere to GAGAS (Generally Accepted Governmental Auditing Standards).
Financial accounting follows GAAP - Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. External auditors need to ascertain compliance with GAAP for management transactions. Compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) must also be audited. This is defined through PCAOB, which reports to the SEC.
External auditing standards also must comply with legal regulations.
An internal auditor is an employee of the company and therefore, they do not present an independent opinion. They do, however, express an opinion and certify as to the efficiency and effectiveness of internal control procedures, processes, departments, and/or projects. They also ascertain whether management directives are being followed.
Some of the duties an internal auditor performs include: identifying voids in current operating systems (i.e. operational audits), process mapping and reviews, and analyzing internal control procedures and subsequent tools in place.
An internal auditor also monitors vulnerability management. As a form of risk assessment, Vulnerability Management consists of the processes that the organization uses to identify, assess, and mitigate business risk arising from using IT (Information Technology) assets and processes. Keeping track (monitoring) Vulnerability Management is an important service that can be provided by the internal auditor.
According to the Department of Labor, there is a higher than average growth rate expected in the auditing accounting field. This is due to recent accounting scandals, new Federal legislation (such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and increased scrutiny of company finances.
Auditing accounting requires specialized and advanced skills and training. In order to perform auditing, one must understand accounting - both in theory and in practice. Accounting involves the proper recording of transactions. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures) needs to be followed.
Auditing these transactions involves monitoring and testing to ascertain compliance with rules and regulations. GAAS (Generally Accepted Auditing Standards) needs to be followed. One needs to also be competent with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance. Only at this advanced level of knowledge and expertise is auditing accounting possible.
The Audit Manager is an upper level management position requiring supervisory skills. The actual job description and duties varies according to the firm employing the Audit Manager.
An Audit Manager working in internal control is known as an Internal Audit Manager. This individual would conduct contract and business reviews, assess key risks, review management controls, and draft detailed reports. They would identify key controls and manage the company's business risks. The internal auditors report to the Internal Audit Manager. The IA Manager is the liaison between the auditors and management. The IA Manager plans, directs, and supervises the internal audit. They prepare the report findings and present it to management.
An Internal Audit Manager needs excellent communication and influencing skills. They also need a thorough understanding of regulation issues. They examine internal control systems. They need to ascertain compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).
In general, the Audit Manager oversees the audit engagement. They manage the full scope of the engagement from planning the best course of action to setting the audit engagement budgets. Audit Managers are responsible for the supervision and management of services provided to the client. They are the main contact with the audit client.
Audit Managers properly staff the audit engagement and determine the workload responsibilities. They can schedule audits, prepare audit strategy, and set the audit budget. They provide guidance and assistance to the audit engagement staff. This is where the strong supervisory and interpersonal communication skills necessary for the position come into play.
Audit Managers also communicate with management and partners on audit engagement matters.
Audit Managers usually have between 5-7 years experience in the public accounting field. Big 4 experience is required by larger firms. A CPA is required. An advanced degree is preferred by many companies for this position. Audit Managers need to have proven heavy technical expertise. They need to have a proven track record involving accounting software and various IT processes. They also must have an advanced knowledge of GAAP & GAAS.
The salary range for Audit Manager depends upon the region, firm size, and experience. It ranges between $75,000-$125,000 annually.
Audit Manager positions are usually obtained by networking with other professionals or via accounting/auditing staffing agencies.
Audit firms are independent entities within the accounting profession. They provide their clients with independent opinions regarding the fairness and reliability of the firm's records supporting the financial statements. This fairness and reliability is based on the firm's adherence to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). The audit firms also provide a variety of other services ranging from progress mapping, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance, financial audits, accounting software and/or tax consulting, to bookkeeping services - amongst other independent services.
Audit firms can be either small, localized firms, regional firms, or large international firms. The smaller audit firms traditionally are noted for smaller clients needing bookkeeping and tax services. Regional firms are considered midsize with revenues around $1-3 million. They mainly extend nationwide. The larger international firms provide audits of Fortune 500 clients.
Audit firms are usually CPA firms and/or public accounting firms. (If the company is not publicly traded, a CPA is not needed.) Other audit services include providing operational audits, and/or monitor IT system efficiency and effectiveness.
The internal auditor must follow the auditing standards set forth by the IIA - Institute of Internal Auditors. These guidelines and standards can be found online and they also must ascertain compliance with GAAP - Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, for management transactions.
Due to recent regulations, internal auditing standards need to follow guidelines set out in the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board rules. The PCAOB is primarily concerned with Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance.
An Audit Agency is a federal, state, or local governmental office providing external auditing services. External audits consist of financial audits, pricing reviews, on-site audits, operational audits, special audits, and ascertaining compliance with SOX – amongst other services offered.
Examples of Audit Agencies include: Defense Contract Audit Agency with the Department of Defense, Air Force Audit Agency of the Office of Naval Research, U.S. Army Audit Agency, Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Health & Human Services.
Audits are done, on the average, annually with the exception of special audits. These audits are done on an as-needed basis as determined by unplanned circumstances.
The oversight of Audit Agency auditors, when on-site, usually rests with the Internal Auditing Department of the entity being audited.
Auditors working for Audit Agencies must comply with Generally Accepted Governmental Accounting Standards (GAGAS), as published by the General Accountability Office. They, therefore, must be competent and current on the current regulations regarding governmental accounting.
Auditors working with Audit Agencies run the gamut from staff auditors to Audit Directors - and a variety of positions in between.
An Audit Agency is usually one of the State options available for obtaining CPA licensure. Instead of working in public accounting, many states offer an alternative of working in governmental accounting as an auditor. If you are interested in working for an Audit Agency to work towards your CPA designation, contact your State Board of Accountancy for a list of qualifying organizations.
Internal auditing services consist of monitoring, detecting, preventing, and testing transactions of the company's policies and procedures. Internal auditing has management as the main beneficiary. Internal auditing certifies the effectiveness and efficiency of processes, departments, projects, or internal control. It also verifies the accuracy of company records while checking for wastage and fraud.
Internal auditing services include testing for proper recording of transactions, monitoring compliance with management's directives, and performing risk assessment. They also would include ascertaining compliance with SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) of 2002, monitoring IT systems for effectiveness and efficiency, and performing operational audits.
Internal auditing services consist of complying with guidelines published by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Internal auditing services lack independence since the auditors are employees are the entity.
The Audit Director leads the audit team - both public and private entities. They are ultimately responsible for audit directives. Many times they are the liaison between external auditors and management. This position oversees Audit Managers. Depending on the company they are employed by, duties vary.
Audit Directors, in general, monitor the fieldwork progress of the audit team. They may schedule, lead, and plan the audit engagements. They communicate with senior management regarding audit engagements.
The Audit Director usually has the highest level of experience and knowledge of any auditing position in the company. They are expected to have a CPA designation and 10+ years of experience. Many firms require some of this experience to be obtained in a Big 4 firm. Audit Directors are expected to have strong communication skills - both oral and written. They also need to exhibit strong supervisory skills, critical thinking, and technological skills .
The Audit Director position usually earns over $100,000. This depends on the region, industry, and experience.
Audit Director positions are filled many times via networking with other professionals. There also are filled by staffing agencies specializing in the accounting and auditing fields. These firms successful at matching applicants with companies.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|