Why Internal Audit is a good career step?
Why Internal Audit is a good career step?
The opportunities in this area at the moment are substantial, as many of the leading industry and financial services companies have learnt lessons from the downturn in the economy and are bulking up their Internal Audit functions to ensure their controls are much tighter and comprehensive. The fact is for some of the leading multinationals and PLC’s in Ireland, Internal Audit is a genuine opportunity for candidates to get in the door with a company of choice, with the view to moving internally in the short to medium term.
A highly regarded discipline within a finance function, internal audit (also known as operational and risk review) provides a process and business unit review service that adds to shareholder value by improving business and financial controls. If you choose to go down this route, the main purpose of your role is to review risk management, control and governance processes and then identify improvement opportunities.
You will then provide recommendations to drive change in the business. Internal audit addresses the entire range of operating activities and performs a wide variety of assurance and consulting services. It is an essential function of any business and is concerned with the financial workings of the entire organization. If you have a background in practice and have strong technical audit skills you are likely to do well in this role.
Here are the key reasons why Internal Audit is a good career step:
Increasing your operational and commercial knowledge of the business
Internal audit is a great entry point into an organization after working in practice. It’s a particularly popular route for those who want to utilize their current auditing skill set whilst gaining insight into the commercial side of a business. If you work in internal audit, you will generally have an excellent opportunity to travel.
Your time will be spent visiting each business area, reviewing their processes and procedures and understanding how they operate. You will have a real opportunity to get close to your business and gain a competitive understanding of it first-hand. You will also work closely with senior managers across a variety of operating units early on in your career. You will generally be at the heart of the business and facilitate improvements in conjunction with the management team.
Exposure to all levels of management
Your work will be highly visible to a much broader audience, including senior leadership, through your audit reports. In addition, audit in/out meetings gives you the opportunity to present yourself and your work product professionally to your peers and company leadership. Many companies use the independent internal audit function through operational audits to share best practices and look for value-add opportunities. Nothing can be more rewarding than making a difference and helping drive positive change. You get unprecedented exposure to all levels of management, so you learn what is involved in the different teams and sections. It provides you with the opportunity to make an informed decision on a career move once in the business, as opposed to assuming a specific role now is right for you.
See the international impact of your organization
Many companies have a strong international presence. Internal audit provides an opportunity to see the world and learn how diverse the international business environment can be. Also being exposed to different cultures and being adventures testing compliance and financial reporting risks in diverse environments. It will influence your thinking and refine your communication soft skills.
Way to top entities
Most PLC’s use Internal Audit as their ‘talent acquisition pool’. The internal Audit team has a flat structure and there is not a long term Internal Audit career path in place – it is simply a way of learning the business before moving into other areas of finance.
There are two main career paths for internal auditors. You can either:
– Continue to specialize and become the Head of Internal Audit
– Broaden your skill set and move on to become the for example the Finance Manager and then Finance Director of a particular operating unit, or else a Plant Controller, or many other options!
Unpredictable situations and new experiences
Every audit is unique and dependent on the situations observed. You never know how the work will evolve.
You’re testing inventory controls one moment, and the next moment you’re in in Hong Kong investigating how your product got there when it was originally sold in Europe. Or you’re in Mexico trying to figure out what is causing inventory shrinkage controls to fail on the way across the border. You would have midnight calls with instructions to get on the next plane to China, not knowing why until you are there. While in Alaska, you discovered tens of thousands of dollars in petty cash and had to carry it back to the continental U.S.
Better work-life balance
Internal Audit differs significantly in comparison to an External Audit role in professional services; you are not being charged out per hour to a client, there is a lot more downtime, controlled project work and no month-end process. Equally, the hours in Internal Audit are often preferable to external audit – it’s common to work from 9am-5pm.
Audit International are specialists in the recruitment of Auditors and various Corporate Governance Professionals including Internal Audit, Compliance, IT Audit, Data Analytics etc across Europe and the US.
If you would like to reach out to discuss your current requirements, please feel free to reach us on Germany- 0049 30217 82920 or Switzerland 0041 4350 830 59
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