You love numbers and you’ve been working as an accountant for a few years. But now you want to specialize. You know that the devil is in the detail, so you’re pursuing an auditing certification to up your status as an auditor.
But to get the best job available to meet your skills and expertise, you are going to need a well-written, compelling resume that is going to sell you as the best person for the job you are applying for.
Resume objective for auditing
While Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) apply for and get jobs working as internal auditors, becoming a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a life-changing step in any accountant’s career.
As Investopedia sagely says, CIAs are very similar to CPAs. They do similar work, but a CIA will have a skill set that has more of a microfocus.
Additionally, auditors enter the picture behind the accountants to verify the work that has already been done. They carefully examine the financial statements that have been presented to ensure that they are accurate.
Auditors commonly verify financial statements, especially those that have been released annually by public companies. They also verify the accuracy of financial statements, including those for tax filings, and investigate why figures don’t always add up.
Like an accountant, auditors are often employed to work internally for companies or third parties. Similarly, many are also employed by regulatory bodies and government bodies, including the Internal Revenue Service.
Rather than just capturing the information, analyzing, and suggesting ways to improve financials, auditors are often employed to detect fraud and intentional misstatements.
A good resume objective will show employers what you, as an auditor, can do to help them. This is the ideal place to identify and define the value you know you can offer.
But keep it short – and objective!
Experienced auditor qualified to ensure financial records are complete, accurate, and in compliance with federal laws. Keen to work for a regulatory body.
Resume skills for auditing
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that accountants and auditors fulfill similar functions. And while they acknowledge the varied functions of the different fields, they highlight common skills.
Clearly, both accountants and auditors need to have analytical and critical-thinking skills. Communication skills are vital, and not just for accountants and auditors. Both need to be detail-oriented and if they don’t have organizational and math skills they won’t make it in either profession.
According to ZipRecruiter, which has designed a Career Keyword Mapper for hundreds of different professions, the keywords relating to skills that most commonly appear in auditing job descriptions are internal audit, compliance, certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, and risk management.
Vault, a New York-based company that provides employer branding solutions for leading schools and companies, compares the two professions.
Ultimately, they say, accountants do all the leg work, while both internal and external auditors ensure that the records accountants have produced are accurate, complete, and comply with federal laws.
Ultimately, auditors need to be self-motivated, determined, and confident. Their attention to detail must be meticulous – beyond perfect. Like accountants, they need a strong aptitude for math and they need keen problem-solving skills.
The Big 4 is another common keyword since these are the four top accounting firms, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Internal audits | Compliance | Accuracy | Risk management | Big 4 | Business process | Committee management | Public accounting | Certified information | US GAAP
Auditing work experience
The auditing work experience you include in your resume should match, as closely as possible, the description of the job you are applying for. It should also span the number of years of experience called for in the job posting.
While you don’t need to include every job you have ever done, if a job posting calls for 16 years of progressive experience in performing professional auditing work, you need to show that you have this work experience.
If the job calls for at least two years of experience, you will likely have to list every job you have had, including internships. Generally, aim for at least three examples of relevant work experience.
Of course, the specific field of auditing you have experience in versus the job you are applying for will affect what you include.
According to the BLS, external auditors check that organization or company funds, sources of revenue, and so on are being managed properly. They work for an outside organization, not the one they are auditing.
Internal auditors do similar work, but they are employed by the organization they are auditing.
If you have worked as an internal auditor and want to switch to an external auditing position, highlight areas that are common to both.
Sample Work Experience
Senior Internal Auditor, 2019 – 2020
Assisted with business process risk and control identification, control evaluation, governance processes, and maintained the required elements of an effective compliance program that included auditing and monitoring.
- Worked directly with business process owners to create the documentation that outlines operational, financial, and compliance processes and procedures.
- Assisted in determining opportunities for improvement.
- Collaborated with departmental management to document and evaluate the effectiveness of the business process and compliance controls, which included detailed testing of control activities.
- Documented more than 40 work papers for procedures completed that incorporated concise findings, root causes, and conclusions.
Internal Auditor (entry-level), 2017 – 2019
Performed compliance, financial, and operational audits of various company processes including documenting key controls related to Sarbanes-Oxley, the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act.
- Conducted hundreds of audits for the company underthe general supervision of the audit manager.
- Evaluated key risks, objectives, and controls.
- Performed testing to identify and communicate control deficiencies to management.
- Completed continuing education training and compliance courses.
Olympus Corporation, PA
Part-time Internal Audit Intern, 2016
Worked as an internal audit intern for about 20 hours a week for four months. Worked with a team and independently with supervision.
- Completed about 24 assignments and projects in collaboration with a supervisor and professional auditing team.
- Actively engaged in daily meetings. Commended for adding value to discussions.
- Compared booking queries with lease portfolios to ensure that account balances for elements like list price, discounts, and trade-in values were accurate.
- Designed and tested control attributes to ensure their effectiveness.
Auditors and accountants have the same initial education, in the form of a bachelor’s degree, usually either in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Students commonly gain practical experience through internships. Although these are not compulsory, an increasing number of universities and colleges encourage students to work as interns.
Apart from anything else, an internal audit internship will give you valuable experience if you are considering becoming an auditor.
Certified Public Accountants and Advisers, Smith & Howard, places a high value on internships, because it lays the groundwork for a career in accounting or auditing, provides hands-on experience related to coursework, and exposes students to different career paths.
However, according to the American Accounting Association (AAA), educational research shows that the heavy workloads during some internships can impact students negatively. So choose your opportunities wisely.
Study.com highlights the importance of certification (see below), and points out that because most states require 150 credit hours for certification eligibility, many accountancy students opt for a Master of Accountancy that will increase the credit hours achieved while studying for a bachelor’s to the required number.
Many universities and colleges offer five-year specialized programs that result in a bachelor’s and/or a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in subjects that include internal auditing.
University of South Carolina, Darla Moore School of Business
Master of Accountancy (MACC), 2017
- Passed the CPA exam during the program
University of South Carolina, Darla Moore School of Business
Bachelor of Accountancy, 2013 – 2016
Since you’ve probably spent five years studying at university, the most likely courses you will be taking will be related to the continuing education you are required to participate in to keep your license and certification valid.
The University of New Orleans offers the IIA Endorsed Internal Auditing Program, which, they say is only offered at a few U.S. universities.
It consists of two internal auditing courses and an internship followed by the Certified Internal Auditing (CIA) exam.
Candidates must also complete at least nine hours of degree credit courses in accounting at the university. They must also maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in the six hours of internal auditing accounting courses required.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) also controls mandatory continuing professional education (CPE) credits that must be completed annually to maintain their CIA certification.
There are numerous courses, seminars, conferences, and webinars available to help CIAs keep up to speed with improvements and developments that are made to internal auditing standards, procedures, and techniques.
- Internal Auditing Program
- CIA Ethics
- Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing
- Essentials of Internal Auditing
- Practice of Internal Auditing
There are several certifications available to accounting graduates, some focusing on accountancy per se, and others designed for auditors. Generally, it is agreed that certification improves job prospects and opens doors to higher salaries.
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is responsible for the four-part CPA exam that is used in all U.S. states. As mentioned above, you need to have 150 total academic credits to qualify to write the CPA exam.
Since a bachelor’s degree only needs 120-128 credits, accountants wanting this certification either go on to get a master’s, or they enter a program that focuses specifically on what is required for the CPA exams.
Accountants who choose auditing as a career often opt for certification even though it isn’t generally mandatory. Some external auditing jobs do require certification including those that entail audit reports to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) offers the CFE credential designed to provide external auditors with the skills and knowledge they need to do the job.
The most common certification for auditors is Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) from the IIA. Accountants need at least a bachelor’s degree and no less than two years work experience as an internal auditor.
The IIA also offers more specialized certification for auditors.
Complete auditing resume sample
We sampled dozens of job postings while writing this article and decided on the advert below to show you how to craft a resume to meet a particular job description. The company is based in California, but the job is in New York.
Revolut, which offers a sustainable, digital alternative to traditional big banks, is looking for an experienced person to head up their internal auditing division.
The role and responsibilities of the auditor are detailed as are the skills they are looking for.
They want a certified auditor with at least five years of professional experience within a regulated financial services environment.
Certified Internal Auditing
Certified auditor with seven cumulative years of experience in regulated financial services environments. Strong vision for the future.
Leadership | IIA Standards | Agile auditing | Critical thinking | Detail-oriented | Problem-solving | Organisational and audit delivery skills | Stone communication
Audit Specialist, 2017 – 2020
Applied ethical and confidential auditing and investigatory standards to effectively review and evaluate and assess the practices and documentation of the company to ensure compliance with related laws and regulations.
- Evaluated the effectiveness and adequacy of internal controls.
- Identified potential risk exposures as well as factors that contribute to issues related to internal controls, errors, and non-compliance.
- Prepared and submitted audit reports, memorandum, and other data that summarized the results of various reviews.
- Evaluated the adequacy of corrective action taken to improve unsatisfactory conditions and followed up with program management, resolving 99% of the issues concerned.
Adapt Community Network, NY
Internal Auditor, 2015 – 2016
Took responsibility, under general direction, for the review and reporting oversight of systems and adherence to agency policy and regulations.
- Identified, developed, implemented, and monitored systems to ensure appropriate usage, maintenance, and tracking of agency resources and the resources of those served.
- Conducted hundreds of routine reviews of finances and other agency systems in accordance with regulatory requirements.
- Tracked and followed up on previous systems reviews.
- Participated in the internal review process for all program types and departments.
- Conducted 45 investigations.
Friedman LLP, NY
Audit Internship, 2014
Undertook a winter internship that provided a diverse work experience during which I was exposed to clients in different industries.
- Assisted with more than 20 audit, review, and compilation engagements in a variety of different industries.
- Prepared client files and identified open items lists required from clients. Prepared confirmation for clients using confirmations.com.
- Assisted with numerous accounting-related projects.
- Experience an open and learning-based culture that enabled me to grow my skills prior to graduation.
New York University
Master of Science in Accounting, 2013
New York University
Bachelor of Science in Accounting, 2009 – 2012
- Internal Auditing Program for IIA certification
In a way, the key to a successful auditing resume is to examine and audit its potential efficacy. You have the skills with numbers, now you will need to extend your skills to words and marketing of YOU!
- Some people like objectives, others don’t. If you decide to include one in your auditing resume, keep it short and use it to sell yourself. Don’t use it to tell the company what they already know – for example, that you are applying for an internal auditing job because you want to further your career.
- You have auditing skills and there’s a strong likelihood that most, if not all, will match the skills the company or agency you are applying to is looking for. You don’t have to list all your skills, but do list those that match the job description.
- You don’t necessarily need to be certified to work as an auditor, but many jobs prefer certified staff.
Tips from Experts
“When I look to hire internal auditors to my firm I look for someone I call an athlete – someone who can do a lot of things, who has the ability to jump in and learn. Frequently we are auditing areas of the business that we may not be familiar with. And so, that ability to get in there and ask good questions and be inquisitive, and build those relationships so that people really trust you, so that you can learn and grow – to me that is really important.“ – Karen Begelfer, CIA, CRMA, Vice President, Chief Audit Executive at Sprint Nextel
“Communication skills are the most important skill to have as an internal auditor. Also, business acumen and presentism. These things are really crucial to be able to stand in front of senior stakeholders and say: Yes I understand your business. Yes I understand what you’re going through. I understand what things need to be done, but you also need to understand that these things need changing or fixing to make the control environment better.“ – Nicola Rimmer, CIA, QIAL, Director, Internal Audit at Barclays
“University doesn’t prepare you to be an auditor. It’s a learning experience. Start to understand the bigger picture early on. Ask questions. They want you to succeed.“ – Hamza Nasir, a financial analyst with the Government of Canada, and former audit associate at a Big 4 audit firm
There is nothing compulsory about a resume, but there are elements that you can embrace to make a resume more compelling. This is vital to get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
Study the examples we have provided in this article and use them to literally sum up the value you are able and willing to give the company you want to work for.