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Internal Audit Recruitment:
5 Obstacles Preventing You from Securing
That Internal Audit Role

IAC Resources

Are you in an accountancy role and looking to make a crucial first step into the world of internal audit recruitment?

Perhaps you have secured your position in an accountancy firm and are looking to map out your future career within a large national or international company. Or perhaps planning your future education with an internal audit position in mind and in pursuit of more information? When it comes to internal audit, there is certainly a lot to think about, but as a niche provider of recruitment services in the governance and cybersecurity sectors, Internal Audit Connections (IAC) has the complete know-how.

As internal audit recruitment specialists with decades of combined experience, we have come across certain traits and pitfalls that we feel prevent candidates from securing their ideal role. We want to share them.

Whether it’s qualifications, application advice or even the specific role of an internal auditor itself that you’re curious about, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide.

Internal Audit Recruitment: The Five Obstacles:

1.) I’m underqualified

The world of internal audit may seem particularly niche and complex, so finding an ‘in’ and a way to establish what is involved and whether you are on the right path may seem problematic.

So, let’s start by establishing whether you are the right candidate for the job. You may feel that you have the right personality, work ethic and outlook for a role within internal audit, but your CV may still be missing some crucial qualifications which will be a large obstacle and prevent you from progressing further.

When it comes to being the right candidate for an internal audit position, a number of qualifications will put you in a much better position to secure the position you’re working towards.

The Essential Qualifications

Three qualifications that make a big impact on a CV and help candidates to stand out from the crowd are:

  • A relevant degree
  • A recognised accounting (ACA or ACCA or CIMA) or auditing (CIA, CMIIA) qualification
  • Or an IT audit qualification such as CISA

These qualifications give an insight into the specific requirements that will help you get on track or add to your existing qualifications.

It is often possible to make the first move into Internal Audit without one of these qualifications, or at least to be only partially qualified. However, it still remains important to achieve one of the above qualifications to ensure doors remain open to you as your career progresses. There are numerous companies who will demand one of these qualifications as a minimum requirement for application. I’m unaware of the route in .

When you set out on securing your first step into internal audit, it is crucial to establish what your goal is and how to get there.

Aspiring to become an internal auditor within a large national or international company? Here is the route you will generally take:

  • Your career will generally begin in an accountancy firm.
  • After qualifying as an accountant with ACA or ACCA qualifications, you will move in-house to an internal audit position and work your way up.
  • Some companies provide training to some or all of their internal auditors within their business, but these employees are likely to have joined the company in an operational role and move to an in-house internal audit position with the same company.
  • You would then go on to complete further study alongside gaining valuable industry experience before progressing to larger companies.

2.) I lack the right qualities

It may be that you have an all-singing, all-dancing CV complete with all the necessary qualifications and experience. Whilst this is crucial, it is also vital that you possess the right attitude and personal qualities that will enable you to enter the industry and successfully progress in internal audit and risk.

We have listed a number of key skills/qualities that we feel a successful internal auditor should have.

What Qualities Do I Need?

Whilst technical knowledge and competences are prerequisites for a position within internal audit, these skills don’t actually have a significant impact on progression. The following key skills are some that will help development and progression in an internal audit role:

  • Ability to vary style and tone of communication. These skills apply when requesting information and when passing on feedback to team members and clients.
  • Able to prioritise workload.
  • Ability to balance the commercial imperatives/strategy of an organisation against the requirements of an audit function.
  • Have personal goals and be proactive in working towards them.
  • Work hard and smile. A good work ethic combined with a positive attitude are a winning combination within any industry.

3.) My application isn’t getting me noticed

When it comes to CVs and cover letters, we’ve seen pretty much every possible version! We’ve summarised some of our application tips to help get your foot in that all-important interview room.

4.) CV Tips

The following CV tips may come in handy and increase your chances of standing out from the crowd:

  • Include a catchy introductory paragraph instead of a full cover letter
  • Grab the reader’s attention as soon as possible in your application
  • Ensure it is clearly laid out and concise and addresses all the key areas
  • Pay close attention to the company you are applying to and the job description
  • Make a note of why you stand out for the role, with elements such as experience, achievements and motivations
  • Be specific! Avoid going off-topic and ensure you bring every point back to the role and company you are applying to
  • Focus on what will be regarded as valuable by the individual reviewing your CV
  • Avoid long lists of responsibilities undertaken and focus on positive results, achievements and projects you have worked on
  • Showcase how you have excelled and gone above and beyond your core job responsibilities
  • Avoid clichés!

5.) I’m not clear about the role

So you are enthusiastic about getting into internal auditing and have mapped out your route in with qualifications and potential companies you can see yourself working in. But take one step back and think: “Do I know what I’ll actually be doing every day?”.

Many people don’t get the privilege of knowing for certain what their day-to-day role will look like beforehand, but we have summarised what value an internal auditor brings to an organisation, which will help give you a better understanding before you make that all-important decision:

  • Regulatory compliance – Internal audit adds value by ensuring that regulations are complied with. This, in turn, leads to the avoidance of investigations, potential fines and the financial and reputational damage that can come with these.
  • Best practice – Internal auditors add value by ensuring that various areas of the business are adhering to best practice, whilst also communicating new ideas and best practice from one area of the business to other departments.
  • Maximising potential and cutting losses – At its best, internal audit adds value by understanding and balancing risk against the strategic objectives of the business. An audit plan can then be created that assures the success of those objectives, whilst also providing suggestions of how to improve on those outcomes. Hand in hand with this comes the ability to be able to step in and say when a project or strategy needs to stop because it is failing and will ultimately damage the business.