An internal auditor is a professional responsible for reviewing and evaluating an organization’s financial, operational, and compliance processes to ensure they are effective, efficient, and compliant with laws and regulations.
Internal auditors work within an organization, such as a company, government agency, or nonprofit organization, and report to its management. These days, you need more than basic skills to become an in-demand audit professional.
To improve your audit career path and stand out in your industry, we have some tips to help, including:
- Streamline your hard and soft skills
- Buy your services right
- Get relevant certificates
- Learn about industry-specific compliance reforms
1. Brush up on your auditing skills
First and foremost, your auditing skills will determine how well you fare in your career as an auditing professional. You probably already have the opportunity to improve your hard skills, but don’t forget to develop your soft skills. For example, here are some of the most important skills to develop:
Thinking and questioning objectively is essential to reaching the right conclusions. This is probably the most important skill to develop because it cannot be replicated through automation.
To stand out, you must take your profession seriously and pursue specific audit certifications and CPE credits on your own. A willingness to learn about new developments in the field of auditing will show your employers that you are committed to your craft.
Your clients will naturally be anxious or stressed, so it’s important to empathize with them when conducting an internal audit. Empathy can also enhance audit quality.
To stand out, you need to know what matters to key stakeholders and how those numbers impact the business and their strategic goals.
Communication skills are key in every industry, and auditing is no exception. For some reason, many audit professionals do not develop high-level communication skills, so you can get ahead of the game by improving your ability to present internal audit findings.
This is your ability to inspire confidence. As an audit manager, you will inform, educate and influence stakeholders on our audit findings. The more trust you inspire, the more trust you will earn in return.
These are just a few of the auditing skills you’ll want to develop at a high level to become an in-demand compliance auditor. You can best stand out by being proactive, strategic, insightful and influential with your customers.
2. Don’t underprice your auditing services
If you choose the self-employment route, you may find it difficult to set your rates. While it’s great to offer your services at attractive prices, don’t price your auditing services below your value.
One of the most important mistakes audit professionals make is to attract clients with low prices. Many want to save money, but most want quality first. Sometimes seeing a lower price than usual creates a perception that the service is not top notch.
Audit professionals who excel in their field charge higher rates because their services cost more. This is because skilled audit professionals bring added value, whether through experience, subject matter expertise or specialized knowledge.
If you don’t think you can charge higher prices, look for ways to make your services and estimates more valuable to justify the higher price.
3. Get audit-related certifications
When you work for companies, you’ll need basic compliance audit certifications, although some requirements are industry-specific.
Let’s say you are an auditor in the medical field. Earn the Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA) credential from the AAPC to perform audits in the medical field. There is also the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification, which is also important for working with organizations that manage patient data, including law firms and healthcare practices.
Create a strategy to pursue specific audit certifications that support your chosen audit career path. Some certifications are better than others because they work across industries, but others are trade-specific.
Get as many certifications as you can, provided it makes sense for your career path. You’ll be taken more seriously and empowered when you earn certifications beyond the core requirements.
4. Stay updated on industry trends and changes
Job expectations are constantly changing in every industry, so keep up with what is expected of you as an audit professional.
If you work for a company, they will probably tell you about major changes, but you can also look around at trends in your industry. For example, looking at job responsibilities on recruiting websites can give you an idea of what companies currently expect.
When you take your role as a compliance auditor seriously, you will be in demand. Businesses need to mitigate risk, and your audits keep organizations in compliance with necessary government regulations for mandatory annual statutory reporting, such as 10K filings and securities regulatory disclosures.
The more you invest in your audit career path and development, the better results you will get for your clients. However, you will earn more money and respect by developing the auditing skills that set you apart.