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Internal Audit: Graduate Area of Work
Internal auditors are the accounting “housekeepers” of a business organisation, keeping domestic checks on its accounts to ensure clarity and precision.
Internal audit caters to domestic checks within a company, where a team of auditors is brought in to inspect the accounts for the business organisation’s own in-house use, as opposed to external audits.
The administration will use these findings to improve on their business operations and strategies, which will then help them achieve their goals.
Along with the report, internal auditors may also advise the administrative department on the performance of the company, as well as the financial risks that are being incurred by the company.
It is their responsibility to test the adequacy of the risk controls that have been put into place and to advise on necessary adjustments to these controls.
Internal audits are not compulsory, but still highly recommended. In Singapore, internal auditors are governed by The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore.
As a new graduate entering this field, you usually start off as an audit assistant where you will spend much of your time reviewing accounts on site, including interacting with the staff and management for more information, and taking samples from the record for testing purposes.
As you climb the corporate ladder, you will be assigned heavier roles during audit jobs, particularly strategic ones.
In this situation, you may have to evaluate information security and risk exposures, and advise company management on the necessary fine-tuning.
Having extensive knowledge of accounting software products, ERP systems and processes, and the local accounting systems of the company will be to your benefit.
Effective communication skills and good language proficiency – particularly if you can speak multiple dialects – is another added bonus as these may help you liaise more successfully with the staff and management during your assignments.
Much of the information that internal auditors need for their reports will come from an unsorted assortment of accounts and interviews, so you will need to possess a keen eye for detail and an analytical mind to make proper sense of the materials.
It is important that you maintain a level of professional skepticism when faced with the surface information that you are provided with.
Personality-wise, internal auditors are encouraged to possess a high level of independence and adaptability. As most of your jobs will be project-based, this means that you will often be exploring vastly different areas on-the-job.
This also means that you will need to take initiative and study more about the organisations that you will be auditing on your own even as you settle into your new responsibilities.
Ups and downs
One of the most exciting aspect about your job as an internal auditor is the wide variety of sectors that you may dabble in.
As the jobs are usually project-based, you will find yourself encountering and learning a lot of new things during your tenure, especially during the beginning of your career.
This opportunity to learn will also equip you with diverse knowledge about various business organisations, thus giving you a broader, more objective perspective about the business world in general.
You will, however, sometimes meet difficult people during your work, particularly during your interviews of company staff, as they may not see a point to your work.
Patience and motivation is essential during such times.
Deadlines may also sometimes clash, which sometimes translate to all-nighters, but the satisfaction that you get from contributing to a company’s achievement of their business objectives is tremendous.