How to Become a Financial Auditor in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a financial auditor. Learn about typical job duties, education requirements and certification options to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Auditing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Financial Auditor Do?

Financial auditors make sure a company or client is properly allocating its finances and in compliance with government regulations. Your job duties as a financial auditor may include analyzing documents and records and making sure they meet legal requirements. You'll also prepare reports, and you may be responsible for finding ways to stop waste and fraudulence.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree for advancement
Education Field of Study Accounting, economics, finance, mathematics
Key Responsibilities Analyze financial statements, public records and tax documents, determine a company's financial status, make sure all records meet legal requirements, analyze market trends
Licensure/Certification Licensure recommended, certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024)11% (for all accountants and auditors)*
Median Salary (2015) $67,190 (for all accountants and auditors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Financial Auditor?

Financial auditors are typically independently employed or contracted by government and private businesses to go over financial data. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), persons considering a career in this field should have strong mathematical and analytical skills to be able to quickly compute figures and interpret data (www.bls.gov).

Step 1: Research Financial Auditor Career Duties and Education

Financial auditors typically analyze financial statements, public records and tax documents to determine a company's financial status and keep business affairs on the right track. In this career, you would verify documents to make sure records contain accurate information and meet legal requirements. You may also analyze market trends to help determine how companies can reduce financial risks.

Step 2: Earn Your Degree

According to the BLS, you need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, economics, finance or mathematics to qualify for most financial auditing jobs. Courses offered in these degree programs can teach you about business law, financial forecasting and income tax accounting.

Many professionals in this field pursue advanced degrees to gain specialized knowledge, and some jobs may require a master's degree. Advanced degrees you can earn include the Master of Science in Forensic Accounting or the Master of Accountancy in Governmental Accounting. Completing these master's programs can equip you to perform functions such as fraud and risk analysis, government budgeting and information systems auditing.

Step 3: Participate in an Internship or Training Program

Government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offer internship and career training programs for current students and recent graduates. If you're a current student, you may have the option to work during the summer or participate in a co-op program while in school. Once you have earned an advanced degree, you may consider joining the IRS management internship program.

Step 4: Consider Becoming a Certified Public Accountant

The position of an auditor and accountant perform similar functions. Therefore, obtaining the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure can help validate your competency as an auditor and prepare you for career advancement. While each state has its own licensure requirements, all states require candidates to complete the 4-part Uniform CPA Examination offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Step 5: Consider Auditing Certifications

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers a number of voluntary certifications including the Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Government Auditing Professional and Certified Financial Services Auditor. All certifications require candidates to pass exams and comply with experience and educational requirements. Additionally, practicing auditors are required to complete continuing professional education courses every two years to maintain licensure.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree, you may also consider pursuing a career as a financial analyst or a budget analyst. Financial analysts are professionals who help clients make decisions about investment opportunities. Budget analysts are responsible for developing budgets, preparing budget reports and monitoring spending.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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