Becoming an Auditor: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons to becoming an auditor? Is it worth the education requirements? Take a look at job descriptions to get the truth about real career prospects to learn if being an auditor is right for you.
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Becoming an Auditor: Pros and Cons

By keeping aware of the financial situation of an employer, an auditor ensures that an organization's money is safe. You should consider the pros and cons to becoming an auditor to determine if this career is right for you.

Becoming an Auditor: PROS
Salary is above the national average ($72,500 in 2013)*
Executive career advancement opportunities*
As business becomes more globalized, more auditing jobs are expected*
Standard work week in most cases*

Becoming an Auditor: CONS
Employers may expect you to be licensed*
Post-secondary education is necessary*
At prestigious firms, rough job competition is projected*
During the tax season or end of the year budgeting, extra work hours are expected*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Information

Job Description

Auditors are in charge of finding out if their employer's funds are mismanaged. You'll research company spending in order to find cases of fraud or waste. This is done to help maximize your company's profits, protect your employer and save money where you can. Many auditors specialize in working with information technology. By keeping aware of the computer systems used by your employer, you'll be able to keep accurate financial data.

Salary Information

Auditors had an average yearly salary of $72,500 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013. In that year, most auditors made between $40,000 and $114,000. The top paying states for auditors were Maryland, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, New York and Massachusetts. According to the most recent data available from the BLS, auditors who were employed in the securities industry earned the highest average salary out of auditors with a yearly income of about $94,000.

Career Requirements

Education

Most employers expect auditors to have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related area. Majoring in business administration is usually acceptable as long as you specialize in an area like accounting. For advanced positions, you'll generally want a master's degree, such as the Master of Business Administration in Internal Auditing. While you're in school, internships can help you obtain some initial experience in accounting and auditing.

What're Employers Looking for in Auditors?

Beyond the educational requirements, many employers want auditors who possess excellent skills in organization. Auditors on a daily basis use many accounts, files, documents and papers, so keeping track of everything is critical to success. Communication is very important as well since you have to keep various facts straight for customers and employers. Below are several examples taken from job postings in April 2012 that detail what real employers wanted in auditors.

  • In Tennessee, a senior auditor job required a bachelor's degree in accounting. Applicants with a master's degree and the CPA designation were preferred.
  • An auditor position in Massachusetts called for applicants with at least two years of related professional experience.
  • In New Jersey, a company required auditors to possess a certified public account (CPA) designation.
  • An auditor opening in Florida wants people with an understanding of financial audits, as well as a bachelor's or master's degree in finance or accounting.

How to Stand Out as an Auditor

Licensing

Although being an auditor is different from being an accountant, it is a good idea to be licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many states require students to have at least 150 semester hours completed in college to qualify for a state license. Although states have general requirements set by their accountancy board, a national examination is required in most states.

Certification

Professional designations and certifications allow auditors to stand out from others who don't have this additional level of proficiency. For example, the Institute of Internal Auditors offers a certified internal auditor designation. To qualify for it, you'll need a bachelor's degree, 24 months of experience in internal auditing and a character reference.

Alternative Career Choices

If you want to work directly with the government and help with taxes, you can become a tax examiner instead of an auditor. As a tax examiner, you'll review tax returns to ensure that various deductions and credits are correct to make sure people are following the law. You'll process these tax returns in order to receive payment or send out a refund. If any suspicious issues arise with a tax return, you'll speak to the taxpayer to address the problem. In May 2011, the BLS found that tax examiners earned about $55,000 on average.

If you're interested in applying your mathematical skills towards estimating resources for a project, you may want to start a career as a cost estimator. By reading blueprints and working with trained professionals like contractors, engineers and architects, you'll review a plan for a project. As you review this project, you'll determine the necessary project costs and what the expected profit is from the construction. The BLS reported in May 2011 that cost estimators had average annual earnings of about $63,000.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting & Healthcare Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Human Resources
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      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Accounting
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    Certificate
      • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting
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    2. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
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    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Accounting
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
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      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
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    4. Full Sail University

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    Master's
      • M.S. - Internet Marketing
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    5. Georgetown University

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    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
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    6. Seton Hall University

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    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
      • Master of Science Professional Accounting
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    7. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
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      • Bachelor of Business Admin - Accounting
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    8. Northcentral University

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    Doctorate
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    9. Colorado Technical University

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    Master's
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      • BS - Accounting
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    10. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accountancy
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Featured Schools

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting & Healthcare Mgmt.
  • Bachelor: Accounting
  • Associate of Science - Accounting
  • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
  • Master of Science in Taxation

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • B.A. - Accounting
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • B.S. - Music Business

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance

What is your highest level of education completed?

Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Master of Science Professional Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration - Finance

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Bachelor of Business Admin - Accounting
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • PhD in Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • MBA - Financial Management
  • Master of Science in Accounting

What is your highest level of education?