What does a person in this occupation do?
Internal auditors examine and vouch for the accuracy and completeness of bookkeeping records and the financial statements of any business establishment. They independently appraise functions within an organisation to examine and evaluate these activities as a service to the organisation.
The internal auditor is often described as the organisation’s critical friend – the independent advisor who can challenge current practice, champion best practice and be a catalyst for improvement with the objective of ensuring that the organisation as a whole can achieve its strategic objectives. As advisors to management, Internal Auditors act as the right hand of the Board of Directors through the Audit Committee by giving assurance on the organisations ability to meet its objectives, its governance, risks and controls. Internal Auditors often have input into strategic planning, market analysis, compliance, change management and the use of information technology.
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The career path to becoming an internal auditor follows a sequence, starting with obtaining an academic qualification – a Bachelor of Commerce and Honours in Accounting, as well as completing the Certificate: Theory of Accounting (CTA). The Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa (IIA SA) recommends, where possible, working through an academic institution that has been endorsed by the IIA (IAEP status). These institutions often offer internship programmes. Become a member of the institute. Go through the IIA SA’s Professional Training Programme. This is a structured on-the-job training programme designed to build competence in internal auditors. Write the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam as the final test of competence. Many internal auditors also opt to write the specialty exams, which have been designed to further assist members in government, the financial services, as well as those who want to enhance their facilitation skills. In order to maintain the professional IIA SA designations, an internal auditor must adhere to the IIA SA’s continuing professional development requirements.
Professional body registration or membership is not a prerequisite to practice as an internal auditor. However, to use the designations you have to be a member of the Institute for Internal Auditors of Southern Africa (IIA-SA).