Internal Auditor Salary Guide

Updated September 28, 2022

Internal auditor salary trends change according to factors like job location, experience, and qualifications. Explore current data and trends with this guide.

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A 2022 blog post published by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) noted the career path's rising popularity. The IIA credits several factors for the trend — internal auditing adapts well to economic and industry change, offers job security, and benefits from strong employer demand.

The IIA expects these trends to gain momentum going forward. Regulatory and compliance demands continue to expand, requiring businesses to include internal auditors on their accounting teams.

Internal auditors looking to increase their earning potential can use this situation to their benefit. This guide profiles the industries, locations, degrees, certifications, and other factors that can lead to a higher internal auditor salary.

How Much Does an Internal Auditor Make?

Internal Auditors

$61,020
Average Annual Salary, August 2022

Source: Payscale

Payscale's general August 2022 data for all internal auditors tells only part of the story. Profit sharing and bonuses can add thousands of dollars to an internal auditor's yearly earnings. Payscale tracked their combined value to be as high as $15,000 per year.

Also, the site reports a much higher base figure of $82,040 for senior auditor salaries. Meanwhile, internal auditing managers enjoyed an average salary of more than $103,000 per year.

These trends demonstrate that auditing managers earn much higher salaries as they gain experience and move into management positions.

Salary by Education

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes a strong link between education and earnings. In general, as individuals complete more schooling, they can earn higher pay.

However, this general trend is a bit more complicated in accounting and related fields such as auditing. For instance, candidates only require a bachelor's degree to become a certified public accountant (CPA). As such, many accountants go on to build successful and well-paid careers without graduate degrees.

Many insiders still believe a master's degree is worth the extra effort and investment. In addition to providing a greater depth of knowledge, graduate degrees may also help internal auditors reach more advanced positions with higher pay.

The following chart summarizes average internal audit salary levels by education. In each case, the quoted data is specific to a particular degree or certification often held by internal auditors. All data was reported by PayScale in August 2022.

Salary by Experience

Increased experience often aligns with higher internal auditor salaries. Major salary jumps occur in the early-to-middle career and middle-to-late career periods. Employers generally link experience and stronger job performance, making the higher salaries worthwhile.

Also, remember that internal auditors can boost their annual earnings through bonuses. Experience can help an auditor perform better, which bodes well for their chances of receiving such rewards.

Salary by Location

Location can also significantly affect auditor salary trends. If a job market has many openings and few internal auditors to fill them, salaries tend to rise. Employers based in areas with higher living costs also commonly offer higher pay rates.

Remember that higher living costs offset higher salaries. As you research, pay attention to the relationship between these two factors.

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center publishes cost of living data. Individuals comparing local living costs in various areas of the United States can use its data as a helpful resource.

The tables below identify the states and cities where auditors earn the most money, on average. Note that the BLS does not specifically track internal auditor salary trends. Instead, it includes the profession in its general "accountants and auditors" category.

Top-Paying States for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
State Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
District of Columbia 9,200 $110,240
New York 111,660 $105,790
New Jersey 42,230 $97,950
California 151,320 $92,840
Massachusetts 38,140 $92,310

Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 13,850 $112,830
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 117,800 $109,330
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 23,970 $107,540
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 41,850 $99,640
Midland, TX 1,090 $95,380

Source: BLS

Where Should I Work as an Internal Auditor?

According to a 2022 analysis by the IIA, internal auditing has recently grown in popularity among accounting professionals. The role's excellent job security and ability to withstand economic change make it an appealing option.

The BLS does not specifically track internal auditor salary or job growth data. Instead, it groups internal auditors in its broader category of "accountants and auditors." Overall, the BLS projects employment growth for accountants and auditors to match the average rate in the labor market.

Projections Central also tracks long-term job growth trends on the state and national levels. Its data indicates that some areas of the United States are poised to experience much stronger levels of local demand.

The data in the following sections explores location-specific trends affecting pay rates and job availability.

Accountants and Auditors

+7%
Change in Projected Employment from 2020-2030

Source: BLS

Best Areas

Internal auditors are specialized professionals whose work covers complex and technical aspects of business operations, including compliance, financial risk, reputation, and future growth.

Given the nature of these tasks, internal auditors tend to work for larger companies and consulting firms. These types of businesses often cluster in areas with large urban populations.

However, the employment landscape for internal auditors is changing. The COVID-19 pandemic inspired many companies and workers to rethink their operations. To that end, a 2021 report by the Big Four accounting firm Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) weighed in on remote auditing.

In the report, KPMG recognized that some remote auditing practices introduced during the pandemic will likely stick around. Internal auditors who want to live in rural or less-populated locations may have more options to explore going forward.

A note on the data: all BLS and Projections Central figures apply to "accountants and auditors" as a whole. Neither organization tracks data specifically for internal auditors.

Top-Employing States for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
State Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
California 151,320 $92,840
New York 111,660 $105,790
Texas 104,490 $85,860
Florida 79,380 $76,320
Pennsylvania 54,530 $79,200

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Accountants and Auditors, 2020-30
State Percent Projected Change, 2020-30 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
Utah 33.4% 1,800
Colorado 22.8% 4,580
Florida 22.7% 9,560
Arizona 21.6% 2,990
Massachusetts 21.6% 4,690
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
California 12.9% 16,960
New York 16.5% 13,510
Texas 20.2% 12,990
Florida 22.7% 9,560
Illinois 10.7% 5,470

Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 117,800 $109,330
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 59,470 $89,700
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 41,850 $99,640
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 38,800 $81,250
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 34,070 $87,720

Source: BLS

Best Industries

BLS data for accountants and auditors shows that some industries offer higher-than-average pay rates. This reflects multiple factors, which may include high demand, more complex or demanding job duties, and prestige.

Note that some higher-paying industries have relatively few openings. For instance, the BLS counted only 40 accountants and auditors working in the top-paying crude oil pipeline transportation industry.

A broader view considers high-paying industries that host larger numbers of jobs. These industries include securities and financial investment services and the federal government's executive branch.

Remember that the data below is generalized for all accountants and auditors. Internal auditors may earn more or less. Their pay rates are determined by employers on a case-by-case basis.

Top-Paying Industries for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Industry Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil 40 $123,230
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 2,770 $123,210
Information Services (Other) 4,770 $112,900
Securities, Commodities Contracts, Financial Investments, and Related Activities 30,990 $107,610
Federal Executive Branch (OEWS Designation) 22,260 $107,170

Source: BLS

Top-Employing Industries for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Industry Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services 326,570 $86,650
Management of Companies and Enterprises 104,760 $84,820
Local Government (OEWS Designation, not counting schools and hospitals) 45,290 $73,860
State Government (OEWS Designation, not counting schools and hospitals) 42,240 $70,830
Real Estate 38,290 $82,090

Source: BLS

Questions About Internal Audit Salary Trends

Do auditors get paid well?

According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earned a median salary of $77,250 per year as of May 2021. Payscale reports that professionals with internal auditor certification had average salaries of $90,000 per year in August 2022.

Where is the best state to work as an internal auditor?

According to the BLS, the three states with the most accounting and auditing jobs are California, New York, and Texas. The three top-paying locations are the District of Columbia, New York, and New Jersey.

Are internal auditors in high demand?

In 2019, the corporate staffing and recruitment firm Robert Half reported that internal auditors experienced very strong labor market demand. More complex regulatory environments partly explain the trend. However, Robert Half also attributes rising demand to companies increasing transparency efforts.

How do you become a senior auditor?

Senior auditor positions usually require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting. Some employers may prefer candidates with graduate degrees. Other requirements typically include multiple years of professional experience and a certified public accountant or certified internal auditor certification.

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