Internal Audit


Internal Audit has never had the prominence that it should have done and I wonder if has gained strength since the introduction of SOX. Whilst there are many people out there who are experts in SOX there has to be good internal audit cointrol for SOX to be effective.
The Association for Internal Auditors has a good reputation but as with so many other areas there is a very limited amount of degrees focused on this area. can I ask what people think is the best degree to take to prepare for this qualification, as I have a relative whose son is thinking along these lines. he has asked me for advice but I really cannot help him.


From what I’ve seen there are several options for those interested in going down the internal audit route. There are a few courses that focus particularly on internal auditing for example London South does an MSc in Internal Auditing. This of course only really works if you want to do a masters and are that dedicated to the whole thing that you are prepared to spend a large amount of time studying this specifically. I’ve also seen quite a lot of on the job training for internal auditing so once you have started working it may well be something that you can pursue later in your career. Otherwise I would look at the units available on a more general degree so that you can get a taster of internal audit and get some foundational understanding that will stand you in good stead without being quite as committed as a Masters would require.



I am in line with your posting. It would appear that from an academic viewpoint the Masters option is what is available. That does mean that you are narrowing your channels considerably and at an early stage. The question is whether that is a wise move or not. I think that the way to look at this is historically and towards the future.
Historically the job of an internal auditor was never seen as overly challenging and indeed for the ‘geek’ or ‘anorak’. With the advent of computers and advanced software the job became more challenging and by working with the systems accountant the whole feel of the work perked up.
The Enron scenario, the advent of SOX and the arrival of Corporate Governance all add up to a greater need for internal auditing and also a far more challenging role. The Masters degree will of course help if you want an academic approach but hands on learning in this area is best as it will help you to develop the 6th sense that is so essential. This cannot be taught but just develops itself.
Yes I think the area is narrow but nowhere near as narrow as it was. Maybe the ;anorak’ id now wearing an overcoat!


That’s good news! I’m actually quite interested in internal auditing and was a bit worried about the anorak image :-p I guess the fact that internal auditing is a vital part of day to day life for a corporate organisation means it is no longer viewed as being the boring end of the accounting. Or maybe everyone just realises that they need to deal with internal auditors so best start being nice to them.
Whichever way you look at it I don’t think it will ever be seen as ‘sexy’ but there is a lot to do in the area and it is growing in importance so those of us looking to enter this part of the industry are unlikely to be bored (even if we are avoided in the pub!!)



When I started in the profession I remember well be confronted by the wizened face of a senior director who greeted me with the immortal words “Ah! here is the evil necessity of life”. Made me feel at home very quickly. Strangely that view that he held seems still to permeate the industry. Auditors cannot be avoided, apart from the pub!
The statement is of course just as applicable to internal auditors as to those who purvey their business on an external basis.
Interestingly I was talking to an Internal Auditor recently who has worked for the same PLC for some 12 years and he was outlining the way in which the work has changed and the greater integration into the day to day business matters. On 1st January next he will be appointed as a full board member so I think that now indicates that the life of an Internal Auditor is now more contributive and also more embracing.