- Ensure information systems meet the requirements of internal policies and any external laws or standards
- Provide detailed reports to business leaders
- Make recommendations for improving technology systems and practices and minimizing security risks
Auditors work with a range of clients to review financial documents for accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations. Some audits also include a detailed review of a company’s accounting policies and procedures, as well as their information technology systems used to store and maintain financial data.
Internal and external audits are related and can be very similar in terms of how records are reviewed and what recommendations are made for improvement. External auditors often work for public accounting firms contracted to conduct audits by an outside company, while internal auditors are employed within an organization to provide these same reports. Auditors who would prefer to work independently can do so by setting up a private practice.
Auditors are trained to identify potential risks and propose preventative measures. Their role as consultants, either internally or externally, is focused on providing objective assessments and informed opinions about how existing practices and procedures might be improved. Overall goals of an audit include increased operational efficiency, risk management and regulatory compliance.
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A variety of industries employ auditors to provide policy and procedural oversight and ensure accurate financial reporting. In addition to accounting and auditing expertise, excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential to explain findings and recommendations to clients. Primary duties include evaluating existing financial records, information management systems and procedures. This type of review results in recommendations for improved practices, efficient financial operations and compliance with regulations. The following career profiles provide examples of auditing roles at different levels of employment.
Auditors specializing in information systems analyze risks related to technology infrastructure, including vulnerabilities in information processing and storage. They recommend improvements to business managers which may cover system upgrades and internal policy revisions for the access, use and maintenance of financial data. Information technology auditors can work within a company or provide external review through an accounting firm or as an independent consultant.
Internal auditors identify problems and suggest improvements through an objective review of a company’s processes and systems. An audit covers a wide range of activities and functions, including accounting and finance, fraud detection and information technology systems. Internal auditors work within an organization to continuously monitor risks and provide leaders with recommended changes to policies and procedures. This role provides an important assessment of a company’s current practices in order to maintain compliance with various regulations, and to prepare for external reviews.
External auditors review financial records and evaluate internal policies and control systems. They look for potential fraud risks and analyze a company’s effectiveness in meeting established standards and complying with relevant laws and regulations. These individuals usually work for public accounting firms, though self-employed external auditors are not uncommon. This role is often referred to as a public auditor.
Audit managers oversee internal reviews of business operations, accounting and finance, fraud detection and information technology systems. These evaluations are ongoing in order to maintain compliance with various regulations and prepare for external reviews. Assurance managers have similar responsibilities.
Often called in to review financial documents when discrepancies arise, auditors ensure that a business’ reports match actual transactions. They analyze financial data and make sure the organization adheres to financial regulations.
In demand across many industries, auditing offers career flexibility and advancement opportunities. Auditors may specialize in areas like information technology.
Auditors typically hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum, though many employers prefer a master’s degree. Certified public accountant (CPA) credentials also help auditors secure employment.
PayScale reports that auditors earn an average annual salary of $56,731. However, salary potential varies by industry, location, experience, and education. With five or more years of experience, auditors earn an average of $64,329 per year.
Internal auditors work for a single organization, where they keep track of financial activities and ensure the company adheres to legal requirements. External auditors work for accounting firms or as self-employed individuals. They serve outside clients when the need for a financial audit arises.
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