The outlook for hiring in the internal audit profession is bright. Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide lists internal auditor as one of the most in-demand roles in the accounting and finance field today. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that several trends, including globalization and the increasing complexity of the tax and regulatory environment, will help to fuel internal audit hiring through 2028.
Another reason the demand for internal auditors, including those who work on a consulting basis, is so strong is that many organizations across industries are growing — and launching new revenue-generating initiatives. While these pursuits create opportunities, they also can invite risk that internal auditors must help the business to assess and monitor.
Internal auditor salary trends
Many businesses in the United States are stepping up the level of compensation they offer to highly skilled internal auditors to help ensure they can recruit and retain these in-demand specialists. Here’s a look at the midpoint starting salaries for the internal audit positions that are listed in the 2020 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals:
- Chief audit executive: $185,250
- Internal audit manager: $116,500
- Internal auditor (senior): $90,250
- Internal auditor (1-3 years of experience): $73,500
- Internal auditor (up to 1 year of experience): $48,000
To determine internal auditor salary levels in your area, use our Salary Calculator.
According to our latest Salary Guide, many businesses seek to hire internal auditors who possess credentials such as:
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), offered by The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA)
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Many employers also look for professionals with a master of business administration (MBA) degree.
For candidates, possessing in-demand certifications and advanced degrees not only can help them to further their careers as internal auditors, but also earn higher compensation.
Wanted: both technical and soft skills
To succeed in a management position in internal audit, professionals need proficiency and experience with common job functions, including:
- Examining financial statements for accuracy
- Ensuring conformance with laws and regulations
- Making recommendations on best practices for financial operations
- Suggesting ways to increase efficiency and control costs
- Reporting and addressing risk management issues
Changes in technology — including the growing use of data analytics in internal audit — are also having an impact on the mix of skills that internal auditors need to succeed in their profession. According to a recent white paper on the next generation of internal auditing, developed by global consulting firm Protiviti, a Robert Half subsidiary, the use of analytics and other technologies in the internal audit organization is poised to grow significantly in many organizations — and soon.
Technical skills, while important, aren’t the only thing employers look for in candidates for internal auditor roles, however. A solid range of in-demand soft skills and attributes, including communication abilities and traits like integrity and diplomacy, are often equally important for career success in the field today.
Looking for internal auditor positions? Explore our site to find employment opportunities in your area.