How Does an Internal Auditor Become Certified?

Becoming a certified internal auditor (CIA) is a big step for any accountant’s auditing career. While this isn’t the only type of professional qualification available for internal auditors, it’s the only one that has achieved global recognition and acceptance. The certification process is administered by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), which also publishes standards, guidance material and other professional resources related to the field. The IIA also offers other certifications for auditing professionals, including those related to risk management and leadership.
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Education and Eligibility Requirements

Candidates pursuing a CIA qualification must meet all of the current eligibility requirements as well as agree to several conditions, including maintaining the confidentiality of test content and adhering to established standards of conduct. To successfully initiate the certification process, applicants must submit documentation proving they hold at least an associate’s degree or accepted equivalent. Some candidates can also qualify if they can prove they have at least seven years of experience working in internal auditing. Candidates also need to prove a certain level of work experience depending on their degree. Those with a master’s degree only need one year in an internal auditing role, while those with an associate’s must have at least five years of verified experience.

Registration and Application

Applicants need to register through the Institute of Internal Auditors’ official site to begin the registration and application process. After successfully completing a profile, applicants are asked to submit the required information through the website’s interface. In addition to documentation of degree and work experience, candidates are also required to submit proof of identification and a written character reference from an approved professional authority, according to the IIA website. All of the required documents must be accepted and approved before registering for an exam. Once approved, candidates can choose a location and date for their exam from the hundreds of options available.

Preparing for the Exam

Since applicants generally have plenty of options when choosing an exam date, they can set one that allows them ample time to prepare. The IIA offers various professional resources specifically geared towards exam preparation, so candidates are encouraged to take advantage of this information before taking the test. Membership with the IIA is not typically necessary for taking the exam but may be required to access its full range of information resources.

Completing the Certification Process

Candidates are encouraged to arrive at their examination site at least 30 minutes ahead of schedule so they have time to confirm their documentation and check-in. Test takers must have a copy of their appointment confirmation letter and valid personal identification. The CIA examination is administered digitally in three different parts that cover a wide range of topics, issues and potential problems faced by internal auditors. After successfully completing the exam and paying all relevant fees, applicants can request a physical certificate through the IIA’s digital service.

Internal auditing may not sound like fun to many people, but it’s a challenging and essential responsibility in any kind of business or organization. Becoming a certified internal auditor can be a strong career move for any accountant who wants to build or develop a career in the field.