What’s a Certified Internal Auditor? Top Skills, Responsibilities, and More!

A certified internal auditor is responsible for assessing and improving the effectiveness of an organization’s risk management, control, and governance processes. They typically work in a company’s accounting or finance department and can progress to gain titles such as a controller or chief financial officer with time. 

Are you interested in researching more about certified internal auditors? This blog post will explain everything you need to know, including the job description, salary, and more. 

What is a Certified Internal Auditor? 

A Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is an accounting professional who is responsible for evaluating and assessing an organization’s internal controls, financial processes, and compliance to ensure effective risk management and regulatory adherence. They provide independent and objective assurance to enhance the organization’s operations and assist in achieving its objectives. 

The title CIA is earned upon receiving the Certified Internal Auditor certification—a globally recognized professional qualification for internal auditors. It demonstrates expertise in auditing, risk management, and governance.  

The job description for a CIA can vary depending on the organization that they work for. Still, typically their role would be to assess and improve the organization’s internal controls. 

Responsibilities of a Certified Internal Auditor  

As a CIA, your job is to assess and improve the effectiveness of an organization’s internal control systems. You will do this by performing internal audits, reviewing financial statements, and issuing reports. Your goal is to ensure that the company operates efficiently and effectively while complying with all laws and regulations. 

Responsibilities may include: 

  • Reviewing financial statements 
  • Conducting operational audits 
  • Assessing the effectiveness of risk management systems 
  • Identifying opportunities for process enhancements 
  • Providing recommendations for organizational improvements based on audit findings and best practices 
  • Monitoring compliance to applicable laws, regulations, policies, and industry standards 
  • Preparing clear and concise audit reports to communicate findings, recommendations, and action plans to management 
  • Facilitating effective communication surrounding audits  

Necessary Skills

Successful CIAs need a blend of technical skills and expertise to support their financial responsibilities, as well as soft skills as they are frequently communicating their findings. Here’s a list of skills a strong Certified Internal Auditor should have: 

  • Financial analysis: Ability to analyze financial statements, identify trends, and evaluate financial performance 
  • Risk assessments: Proficiency in assessing and identifying potential risks within an organization’s operations 
  • Audit methodologies: Knowledge of various auditing methodologies and frameworks 
  • Internal controls: Understanding of internal control frameworks  
  • Data analysis: Competence in using data analytics tools to extract insights and identify patterns from large datasets 
  • Communication: Strong verbal and written communication  
  • Analytical thinking: Ability to think critically, identify problems, and develop solutions 
  • Attention to detail: Thoroughness and precision in reviewing documentation 
  • Time management: Efficiency in managing multiple audit assignments, prioritizing tasks, and meeting deadlines 
  • Objectivity: Ability to maintain impartiality and objectivity while conducting audits 
  • Collaboration: Working effectively as part of a team, collaborating with colleagues, and fostering positive working relationships 

And of course, to become a certified internal auditor you’ll need to complete the Certified Internal Auditor certification. 

Commonly Asked Interview Questions for an Internal Auditor 

Whether you hope to ace an interview for a role as an internal auditor, or you’re a hiring manager brainstorming questions—this list should help you get started.  

  • What experience do you have in internal auditing?  
  • What qualities do you think are essential in a successful internal auditor?  
  • What is your experience with financial statement audits?  
  • Do you have experience with information technology audits?  
  • What is your experience with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance?  
  • What accounting software do you know how to use?  
  • How would you rate your communication skills?  

Certified Internal Auditor Salary 

Average annual pay for a certified internal auditor is $68,511. The total range, though, is 51k-94k, depending on location, years of experience, and company size.  

Ready to be an Internal Auditor?

Certified internal auditors are in high demand across the globe, so if you’re thinking of becoming one, it’s a great career move. There are good opportunities for advancement within this profession, and you’ll be able to work in a variety of industries. 

When you’re ready to connect with your future employer, head on over to the Insight Global job board.