The success of any business depends upon qualified professionals, such as a senior auditor, to maintain the health of daily, financial operations. Auditors track the management of revenues and expenditures to check for resource waste or financial fraud. They ensure that financial and operational compliance regulations are being followed and that financial statements are factual and error free. A senior auditor competently applies advanced knowledge of finance principles, tax and business law, accounting procedures and data information systems in the course of routine job performance. When a senior auditor does the job correctly, the business benefits by running more efficiently.
Requirements for Becoming a Senior Auditor
Senior auditors begin their careers in entry level positions as junior auditors and move up the ranks into supervisory positions. Entry level positions require at last an associate’s degree from accredited accounting or finance programs and provide job experience for those interested in moving to the senior auditing level.
At a minimum, employers look for senior auditors to have a bachelor’s degree in the accounting, finance or technology fields along with two to five years of work experience. It is preferable, however, that senior auditors hold a master’s degree to advance the competencies and skill sets necessary to implement the highest level of auditing services expected by employers.
Graduate programs for auditing typically earn candidates a Master of Business Administration or a Master of Science degree with specializations offered in auditing, accounting, finance or technology information systems. Programs provide flexible formats to accommodate the schedules of working professionals and run between 12-36 months depending on the scope of study, which incorporates topics such as:
- Fraud examination
- Information systems, data management and cyber-security
- Audit controls and e-commerce accounting
- Strategic analysis of cost management
- Compliance regulations
- Quality and assurance controls
- Human resource management
Senior auditors are also expected to hold appropriate certifications for their jobs, which vary by employer or state. The most common certifications are the:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
Characteristics and Responsibilities for a Senior Auditor
Senior auditors are expected to be reliable, trustworthy employees and exhibit excellent verbal and written communication. They must supervise and verify the accuracy of work produced by junior auditors and account for discrepancies to upper management. Other responsibilities include maintaining, improving or developing auditing programs. In addition, a senior auditor should possess strong organizational skills, technical expertise with application of auditing practices, and the ability to work in a fast-paced, ever changing, business environment.
Job Prospects for a Senior Auditor
The outlook for senior auditors in the job marketplace is strong. According to Payscale, nationwide, median salaries come in around $63,000 annually with the highest salaries being located in urban areas. As a senior auditor, many possible avenues exist towards career advancement in the field, including moving into managerial and executive positions offering higher pay and benefits.
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Few jobs are as important to the financial well-being of businesses or institutions as that of auditing professionals. As a result, qualified senior auditors will find competitive employment at all levels of industry, both public and private. If being a key player in a business’s financial success sounds appealing, then becoming a senior auditor might be a career choice to consider.