According to the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Certified Internal Auditor is "the only globally accepted certification for internal auditors and remains the standard by which individuals demonstrate their competency." Obtaining the certification places you at the upper echelon of your profession and most likely allows you to command a higher salary. Organizations value your skill to master and identify potential risks.
Certified Internal Auditor Exam
The CIA exam is a computer-based exam given year-round at more than 500 locations worldwide. The exam consists of four parts: The Internal Audit Activity's Role in Governance, Risk and Control (Part 1); Conducting the Internal Audit Engagement (Part 2); Business Analysis and Information Technology (Part 3) and Business Management Skills (Part 4). Parts 1 to 3 form the core global syllabus of the CIA exam.
Because the CIA receives global recognition, achieving the designation expands your opportunities to work abroad or work with companies with international exposure. In addition, achieving the certification allows you to make an argument for a higher salary. As a CIA, you set yourself apart from a regular auditor, which speaks volumes regarding your level of commitment to your profession.
Demand and Pay
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Handbook 2010-2011 edition forecasts 22 percent growth in accountant and auditor positions between 2008 and 2018, which is a faster rate than the average for all professions. The increase is due to new business formation, international mergers and acquisitions and increasing tax and regulatory legislation. In May 2008, the median salary for accountants and auditors was $59,430. The middle half earned between $45,900 and $78,210 while the top 10 percent earned more than $102,380.
The IIA publishes its CIA Model Exam Questions that includes 400 sample questions. In addition, there are a number of third parties that offer CIA exam review courses. If you plan on taking a review course, make sure it is IIA-approved. The CIA exam is a year-round exam. If you intend to take it, give yourself enough time to study.