How Become an Auditor


Before you being to work your way into this field, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. Does the following describe you? If so, working in this field might be very well suited for you:


• You have a keen interest in accounting and financial reporting

• You are able to effectively analyze, compare, and interpret figures

• You are comfortable discussing the results of auditing work in both meetings and written reports

• You have the mental and emotional patience needed to attain the required level of education

• You are willing to inform company management of fraudulent financial activity

• You have excellent organizational skills


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an auditor. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Educational Requirements

The educational requirements needed to work in this profession may vary by employer, as well as for internal and external auditors. 


Internal Auditor: To become an internal auditor, you typically need a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance, although internal auditors may come from various backgrounds including business administration, information systems, engineering or economics. Some employers require internal auditors to have a university degree that directly relates to the nature of the organization's business.


External Auditor: To work as an external auditor in Canada, you typically need to have a degree in finance or accounting, be working towards your Chartered Accountant (CA) designation, or have your CA designation. In the United States, you will need your CPA designation.





General Job Description

The job description of auditors (also known as financial auditors) can vary, depending primarily on whether their responsibilities are that of an internal auditor, or that of an external auditor. In general however, auditors must thoroughly examine and analyze the financial and accounting records of an individual or an organization, in order to ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations and applicable legislation.


Internal Auditor Job Description


Internal auditors are responsible for systematically collecting and analyzing information about their organization's management framework, internal controls, information systems, procedures and outputs, in order to assist executive management with the following tasks:


• Identifying and evaluating risk management, control and governance processes

• Comparing current structures and performance against established standards

• Assessing compliance with corporate policies and procedures including associated legislation and regulations

• Investigating of fraudulent reporting and activities


External Auditor Job Description


External Auditors are responsible for collecting, organizing and analyzing the financial and accounting records of their clients, and presenting the client with an opinion as to whether financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with the applicable accounting standards of the entity, such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).


External auditors must also assert whether the client’s financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error, neglect or fraud.



Typical Job Duties

• Examine and analyze journal entries, bank statements, inventory, expenditures, tax returns and other related documents

• Ensure the records of an organization or an individual are compliant with any and all applicable regulations and legislation

• Prepare detailed reports on the findings of an audit

• Make recommendations for improving accounting and management policies and methods

• Liaise with controller, if applicable in order to ensure receipt of all necessary documents that require scrutiny

• Inquire as to the nature of any discrepancies or inconsistencies within the financial documents



Certification Needed

Employers may or may not require their auditors to have professional designation; it often depends on the level of responsibility of the job, the size and type of the employer, and whether the job is as an internal or external auditor. If you want to become an auditor, you may need one or more of the following designations:


• Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

• Certification in Control Self-Assessment Auditor (CCSA)

• Chartered Accountant (CA) 

• Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

• Certified General Accountant (CGA)

• Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)

• Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA)

• Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)



Average Salary Level

The salary level of auditors can vary depending on their level of education, their level of aptitude, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


Auditor Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Internal Auditors occupational group earn an average salary of $75,474 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing/updating this guide (June 10, 2019).


Auditor Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Accountants and Auditors occupational group is $63,550. The lowest 10% of salaries in this group are below $39,930, and the top 10% are above $111,510 per year.





Skills Needed to Be Successful

To be effective in this occupation, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and you will likely need to show evidence of them in your resume when applying for jobs.


• Able to effectively assess a company's financial reporting systems

• Able to establish good working relationships with clients or management

• Able to make effective recommendations for improvement

• Able to pay extremely close attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation

• Able to use mathematical abilities to analyze, compare, and interpret figures

• Able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and other stakeholders

• Good written and verbal communication skills

• Excellent organizational abilities



Characteristics Needed

In order to enjoy performing the duties of an auditor, you need to have certain personal traits. Taking enjoyment from your job duties is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which can lead towards having a long and successful career.


• Enjoy checking financial reporting accuracy and efficiency

• Enjoy compiling, organizing and analyzing data

• High ethical standards

• Outgoing and confident personality

• Objectivity and sound judgment

• Persistence and patience when dealing with stakeholders that are uncooperative

• A willingness to see projects through

• Comfortable discussing the results of auditing work in both meetings and written reports

• Willing to inform company management of fraudulent financial activity



Types of Organizations that Employ Auditors

Internal Auditors: Are typically employed as in-house employees on a full-time or contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Medium and large corporations in almost all sectors of industry

• Federal, provincial/states and municipal governments

• Banks and other financial institutions

• Non-profit organizations

• Firms that provide internal auditing services to clients


External Auditors: Are typically employed by an organization that is contracted by a client (usually a publicly traded company) to conduct an audit of their financial reporting, for the purpose of compliance. The following types of organizations typically hire external auditors on a full-time or contractual basis:


• Chartered accounting firms

• Government agencies



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has auditor postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Career Advancement Possibilities

Management Positions


With sufficient experience and education, internal and external auditors may go on to work in executive management positions within small, medium and large organizations.


Internal and external auditors are in a position to get a good overall perspective of an organization's operations, because they are usually responsible for auditing all areas of the organization’s operations. Many employers use internal auditing positions as training grounds for future executive managers.


Chartered Accountancy


Internal and external auditors may also choose to pursue a career as a Chartered Accountant (or a career as an accountant of a different designation), or operate their own private accounting practice.


Many chartered accounting firms and accounting students use external auditing positions as training for work as a Chartered Accountant. 



Similar Career Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to this one, as they involve many of the same skills, personality traits, competencies or responsibilities.



Budget Analyst

Chartered Accountant

Data Analyst

Electronic Data Processing Auditor




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career in this field.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Financial Auditors & Accountants.” (n.d). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 24, 2019.

Business & Financial:Accountants and Auditors.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 24, 2019.

Explore Careers:Auditor.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved October 24, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming an Auditor

Scholarships listed for majors that are relevant for becoming an auditor can be found on our Accounting Scholarships and Finance Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for working in this field. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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