So You Want to Work as an Internal Auditor?

Internal auditor with magnifying glass and calculator

The role of internal auditor is one of the top 10 positions in today's competitive hiring market, and salary ranges are on the increase.

In this era of growth opportunities, internal auditors are key to efficient businesses operations. They must anticipate and respond to a constant stream of new challenges — many of which deliver uncertain and still-unfolding risk implications, from emerging technologies and new auditing requirements and standards to rapidly evolving business conditions.

An internal auditor can work in a public or private setting, in a small or large company. Robert Half's latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance forecasts salary increases for internal auditors at all levels and company sizes, from 3.6 to 4.1 percent in 2017.

Salary expectations for internal auditor jobs

2017 Salary Guide coverThe projected starting salary for an internal auditor in corporate accounting — with less than a year of experience at a midsize company — ranges from $55,250 to $67,250 in 2017, a 4 percent increase from the year before. The pay range for an internal auditor with up to a year's experience at a large company is $58,000 to $68,750.

The room for growth in this sector is large. Senior internal auditors can expect salaries of $82,000 to $101,750 at midsize companies and $88,250 to $115,000 at large companies. Starting salary ranges for chief audit executives and internal audit directors at companies with revenues greater than $500 million are projected to be $190,500 to $289,500 in the coming year. 

Visit the Salary Center, where you'll be able to adjust salaries for internal auditor jobs in your city with the Salary Calculator, and get your own copy of the Salary Guide.

Duties and expectations of an internal auditor

Internal auditors are responsible for evaluating and contributing to the improvement of company operations, including risk management and control processes. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides governing standards that each internal auditor must follow. Internal auditor jobs entail the following functions:

  • Examining financial statements for accuracy and conformance with laws and regulations
  • Assessing financial operations and making best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggesting ways to reduce costs, enhance revenue and improve profits
  • Reporting risk management issues and internal operations deficiencies to management

Professional experience and skills

As more and more companies become aware of the value of adding an internal auditor to their teams, the demand for this highly competent and skilled role continues to rise. Internal auditor jobs require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, although some companies may prefer a master's degree in accounting or business administration.

Additional designations are also valued, such as certified internal auditor (CIA), certified government auditing professional (CGAP), certified financial services auditor (CFSA), certification in control self-assessment (CCSA) and certification in risk management assurance (CRMA).

As highlighted by a white paper co-published by Robert Half and the IIA, hiring managers are looking for seven nontechnical attributes in an internal auditor: 

  1. Integrity, due to the delicate and sophisticated nature of internal auditor jobs.
  2. Relationship building, in order to successfully collaborate with other auditing professionals.
  3. Teamwork, to collaborate across departments with coworkers.
  4. Partnering skills, to balance customer service, leaderership and regulatory requirements.  
  5. Communication skills, both verbal and written, for relaying messages and presenting data effectively. 
  6. Diversity, to view problems through various perspectives results in smarter solutions.  
  7. Thirst for continuous learning, to stay current. 

This specialized area of accounting requires a keen eye, attention to detail and a high level of integrity. Are you ready to take the next step?


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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2014 but was updated recently to reflect changes in the Salary Guide.

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