Top 17 Internal Audit Skills to Stay Relevant in your Job
This post provides major internal audit skills and qualities you will need to develop and apply in your work as an internal auditor to be effective and build a successful career.
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It is a necessity for every organization to carry out internal auditing. That is a part of accountability which encourages stability and establish a good analysis of what is happening in the workplace either financially or otherwise.
Who is an Internal Auditor?
An internal auditor is someone hired to work within an organization and saddled with the duty of carrying out some audit work on the financial and operational proceedings of an organization.
He/she evaluates the operational activities in the organization.
Note that the difference between an internal auditor and external auditor is that the internal auditor is an employee of the organization while the external auditor is not.
If you are an internal auditor looking to be effective in your job and build a great career, here are major skills and qualities to develop:
Working as an internal auditor demands some special communication skills.
This is very important because your level and system communication will either help bring you the best you demand from the organization or otherwise.
The type of information you need from the management may be different from the one you may need from other staff of the organization, and as such you need to be very systematic in your communication in order to get the desired result from any of the categories.
How effective you are in your communication will also help the workers in the workplace to support you in getting your job done.
Also, being confident in your communication is a sure way of assuring the management of the organization that you know what it takes to be a good internal auditor.
2. Analytical Thinking
Analytical thinking is very helpful to anyone that wants to be a successful internal auditor in the work of internal auditing.
Things may be far from what they appear to be when initially looked at from the surface. This is where analytical thinking comes to play.
For you to be a great internal auditor, you need to be able to dig deep and uncover whatever cannot be uncovered by merely looking at it from the surface point.
Analytical thinking is very important and can be likened to investigative instincts.
Trying to make good conclusions and recommendations requires analytical thinking and analysis of circumstances and possibilities and impossibilities that are obtainable with information made available to you.
You don’t trust the information you get, neither do you overrule whatever information you get; think deeply before concluding.
3. Data Mining and Analysis
Every good internal auditor needs to have data mining skills and also the ability to analyze every data mined.
In other words, as an internal auditor, you need to be able to draw out data not only by what is made available to you by the organization.
The word mining alone can suggest that you have to go deeper in your research and questions to get the best data to work with.
This is no mean feat to achieve, but it is positive with much inquisitiveness and eagerness to unravel secrets.
The starting point of data mining is inquisitiveness and astute professionalism. A good internal auditor understands that there is always something beyond what is seen.
When supplied with information by the organization, you need to organize your team and embark on independent research to be able to get a wholesome auditing process.
4. IT Skills
It is also necessary for internal auditors to have IT skills. It is not an imaginable situation to behold when an internal auditor does not have basic IT knowledge.
Even if you don’t want to be like professionals in the IT field, you should at least grab the best knowledge related to your field.
Some of the IT skills needed by internal auditors may include knowledge of Microsoft suite applications.
These include MS Word, Access, and PowerPoint, and related apps. These three are very important because most information in an organization are primarily in the above formats.
An internal auditor should be able to interpret data stored in the above formats. This is important because it will save you time and the embarrassment of not knowing how to interpret data contained in the applications.
5. Business Knowledge
The desire of businesses is to make profit. Being a good internal auditor requires that you possess some business acumen so that you can understand the intents and purposes of what is contained in your research, and the information made available to you by the organization.
So, going through records and history of events in the workplace demands adequate knowledge of how a business works.
This is not to say that you only need the basic knowledge, rather, you need to be top in business acumen and what every business entails.
A major part of your job is not only to evaluate the proceedings in a workplace, but also to proffer solutions where necessary and help the proceedings of the organization.
So how can you proffer solutions to a problem you don’t understand?
6. Keeping Abreast with Regulatory Changes in the Industry
One thing that shows your professionalism and expertise as an internal auditor is your ability to keep in touch with the different regulations obtainable in your industry.
Different industries have rules, regulations, and new changes made in the industry recently, which you must comply with.
With this you can keep the organization updated to what is obtainable in the industry. Failure to do this is a sign of lack of information and professionalism.
You also have to make the organization align and adjust to the changes in the industry. This is done through your recommendations and your findings.
Your organization depends so much on your recommendations to make changes to their structure.
7. Knowledge of Business Risks
Every business has risks associated with it. Though the essence of every business is to make maximum profit yet, this does not come without the associated risks.
So, as an internal auditor, beware of this reality and try to apply that knowledge to your job.
Your knowledge of business is never complete without the knowledge of some basic risks associated with it.
Trying to ignore or overlook this can be disastrous for you and the organization altogether. When carrying out your audit job, make sure you are not overlooking business risks.
The essence of knowledge of business risks is to be in an advisory role in the workplace. When you relate with the management the risks associated with some practices, it helps them to restructure its mode of operation and as well find ways to minimize or even stop those practices.
8. Expertise in Auditing Job
Being an amateur in auditing job comes with its own risks and problems. The effectiveness of an expert in the auditing job cannot be compared with that of an amateur.
To be an expertise in your job requires a whole wealth of experience, as well as constant upgrade on the latest practices in the auditing job.
If you want to get better in your career, then you need to upgrade your knowledge, else you will gradually phase out in the job.
Also, you need to undergo trainings, seminars, and workshops that are necessary for your job. You have to be intentional in your gathering of relevant knowledge.
This is because how much you know determines how far you can go in your job as internal auditor.
9. Problem Solving Skills
Your job as an internal auditor does not start and end with finding problems or faults from your auditing activities, but also with finding long lasting solutions to the problems.
So, it is very necessary to have problem solving skills.
One thing is inevitable and that is problems or challenges in business.
It is your job to proffer solutions to problems you discover. This will definitely come from your wealth of experience from handling similar problems probably in the past.
The problems to also solve are the ones encountered while carrying out your job. These may include unclear responses and information provided by the organization.
It is your job to analyze and draw conclusions on your observations and probably make recommendations to the organization.
10. Organizational Skills
In most scenarios, an internal auditor does not work alone. He works with a team which might be appointed to him/her by the organization he/she is working with or the team he/she chose by himself or herself.
Either way as an internal auditor, you need to have the organizational skill in order to get the best out of your team.
As a manager of a team of auditors, you need to have the ability to organize the auditing process and assign jobs to members of your team and set deadlines for every report to be submitted.
You monitor the activities of your team and know to improve on them.
The strength of your team can determine how effective you can be in your job. It is very necessary to work with people that understand the job and what it entails.
The seriousness of the job should be communicated to your team to make sure all hands are on deck to do an excellent job.
As long as you are working with a team, you are not working alone, and as such must carry your team along in the job.
Remember that the first thing to do is to organize them and secondly assign duties to them with a standard to follow.
Also, you must appreciate the inputs of your team. It is called teamwork and nothing is done out of competition.
Bring out the best in your team by encouraging them to go extra mile to make the job as successful as possible.
In internal auditing, you have to work closely with your team. Enlighten them what the company or organization demands and also orient them on how to work closely with each other.
Finally, on this note, establish a good communication channel with your team to help them relay their ideas and findings.
12. Conflict Resolution Skills
This comes in various ways. Different conflicts can arise in the process of internal auditing. The conflicts can be with the team or even staff of the company or organization due to difference in the assessment of issues at hand.
You have to be able to resolve these conflicts and still deliver an excellent job.
When resolving problems with staff of the organization, you have to make them understand that the essence of the exercise is not to victimize anyone but to help the organization do better.
Conflict arising from the team might be a tougher one to handle for some reasons.
However, to prevent some of the conflicts in the team from the beginning, you the chief auditor should be able to designate jobs and how it should be done, rather than trusting members of the team to act of their own or out of their instincts.
This can go a long way to quenching conflicts.
13. Negotiation Skills
Negotiation is part of the job. This is a skill needed to stay top in your job as an internal auditor.
You must be able to negotiate some important issues like your pay and that of your team and terms and conditions of the job. This is important.
One of the most important things to negotiate about is the working condition. This is very important to how effective you can be in your job as an internal auditor. Not just you but your team as well.
You have to negotiate the terms and conditions of the job to avoid conflict before, during, and after the job.
The internal auditor can also negotiate with clients of the organization, having full knowledge of what the organization demands, and with the acquisition of good business ideas, the internal auditor can fit the bill if he/her is an expert in this field.
14. Change Management Skills
Change is constant and it’s not something to be scared of. Every industry undergoes change and this affects the practices obtainable in such industry.
So, as an internal auditor, you should be able to adjust and ease the organization into this change.
What will help you in this circumstance is to upgrade yourself and not get stuck with your old ideas.
Change is bound to come in your field and it is very important to prepare for it. It detects the future of the industry and your future in the job too.
One positive thing to be taken from change is that they are geared towards accommodating latest and most effective practices in this field.
So, don’t see change as something repugnant, but something to be embraced and followed. It can only bring out the best in you.
15. Work Ethic
In your job as an internal auditor, try to stay pure professional in all you do in the organization. This is a sign of professionalism and nothing less than that should be tolerated by you on the job.
In carrying out your job, it is very important that you are professional enough not to overlook any suspicious information.
Your commitment is another thing to watch for in this job. Try as much as you can to give it your best at all times.
Inasmuch as it is good to designate jobs to your team, however be careful not to relinquish your own duties just because you have people to work under or with you.
Good work ethics are many that will help you deliver an excellent job in your organization. Failure to imbibe these practices will only give you a bad reputation in the job.
This is very important in your job as an internal auditor. Try as much as you can to empathize with the people you are working with.
This implies that you put yourself in their shoes and know how realistic your expectations can be with them.
Empathize with the staff in the organization. Some errors observed in the records might not be intention.
Empathy helps you to make sure you correct errors as long as you know they are not intentional.
This is very important to help earn you their maximum cooperation.
Also, empathize with members of your team to know how difficult they may see the job. In this case, what is needed is your encouragement and motivation.
Don’t assume that every auditing job will be easy for them. With this, you can create a realist target for them.
17. Marketing Skills
An auditor can be a good marketer that the organization can have. Marketing skills is important if you are to succeed in your internal auditing job.
You are expected to know the organization inside out and also what the organization needs to grow.
You should be able to market the company or organization to potential clients and draw income for the organization.
Together with your team, you are expected to contribute massively to the growth of the organization. So help in this aspect.
One of the things the marketing skills help an internal auditor to do is to give him/her the ability to suggest or recommend how better the management of the organization can increase the value of the organization through marketing.
Based on his/her wealth of experience, he/she can help with his/her advice and move the organization forward. Remember your duty is not just limited to finding faults but solutions also.
Internal Audit Skills for Resume
If you are an internal auditor writing a resume for the role, you can use the skills and qualities presented above in making a compelling core competence section for the resume.
The above skills and qualities are what most employers require that candidates for the internal auditor position should have to be hired.
Candidates with the skills and qualities are more effective in performing the duties of an internal auditor and excel in their career.
So, if you have the skills and qualities, ensure to highlight them in your resume to stand a better chance of being called up for an interview and hired.
There is an increase in the demand for internal auditors over the years because companies want to keep good track record of their daily activities, particularly their financial matters.
However, to get the best internal auditing jobs and succeed in your career, you need to develop certain skills and qualities highlighted in this post.