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Why did you choose internal auditing as a career?

A client recently asked me why or how did I choose internal auditing as a career.  The question got me to thinking, why did I choose internal auditing as a profession?  I mean really, who chooses to place him/herself  in position where you are:

  • Constantly learning something new
  • Continuously interacting with various people across your organization
  • Helping improve your organizations products/services

I think I chose audit and audit chose me.  I see the world as a series of processes that either fit or do not fit.  I’m always curious about how things work and how they can be improved.  I remember getting my first computer as a youth.  I wondered how the thing worked.  So I did some research (and by research I mean I took it apart and put back together).  Thankfully, I did not damage it.  But seriously, I learned a lot about computers.  For the next several years, I built my own computers.  

I was an accountant in one of my first jobs.  It was the standard debit/credit data entry and reconciliation task oriented position.  The organization was using an inventory system that.. well, did not reconcile.  I replicated the system in Excel, found the error and helped solve an inventory issue.  Evaluating the process, identifying control points and improving the workflow was an exhilarating experience.  This was the first of many process improvement initiatives.  Although there is more to internal auditing than process improvement, I believe this was my first step into truly realizing the value of the function.  

In a recent article, I disclosed My 3 Biggest Fears as an Internal Auditor.  They are:

  • Not making a difference
  • Missing something important
  • Finding something important

Thinking about this further, I believe this might be a life concern for me versus just something I fear as an auditor.  My desire to make a difference (whether it be as an auditor working for an organization, as a friend, father, etc) is motivation to attempt to continuously improve me, the people around me, the organization I work for, etc.  So I think the fears I face in life are a big part of why I became an auditor.  What about you, why did you choose internal auditing?

Robert Berry (88)

Robert (That Audit Guy) Berry is a risk, compliance and auditing advocate, educator and innovator. He helps good professionals become better by creating articles, web services and training that allow them to expand their knowledge network.

7 thoughts on “Why did you choose internal auditing as a career?

  1. Thanks Robert. Good question. Interesting article. Wonder why you fear finding something important. Please explain / elaborate your idea. Best regards, Rainer

    1. Rainer. In my opinion, fear is not always bad. Fear can motivate us. My fear of finding something important has a lot to do with the repercussion of finding something. For example, at one organization, we found an error in an Excel workbook that led to the write down of assets. This happened a few more times. This organization no longer exists. Although it is not fully attributed to these losses, it definitely did not help to have to write down assets at a time when the organization needed cash flow.

      In general I think there is (1) a healthy fear or anticipation associated with change. Facing these fears helps us grow as people and (2) a fear or anxiety when you know something bad is happening or about to happen.

  2. Great subject, Robert. I am definitely on the “audit chose me” side. I was an engineer and did quite a bit of computer programming, and found a want ad looking for the identical computer skills that I possessed. I wasn’t sure what an “EDP Auditor” was, but I interviewed and liked the people and suddenly had a new career in internal audit. Since then I have become proficient in technology audits, operational audits, compliance audits, project implementation reviews, quality assessments — and continue to think that I lucked into the best job in the world.

    1. Hey Rick,

      I do think it is the best job in the world. Where else do you get to learn an organization inside out, travel and truly help bring about change.

  3. Hi I am Shuichi living in Japan. I am a certified public accountant in Japan. I have been auditing or making an advisory for M&A transactions for 12 years. Nice to meet you. I fortunately continue to be an auditor although I am wondering whether I would like to start my new business recently. I think you are an enthusiastic auditor who always thinks of what should be done to improve something. I totally agree with your thought. In general, auditing is not common career for consumers compared to sales, soft wear engineers, attorney or something. Many people don’t think what auditors do every day. But, I know some of auditors are always introverted and hard working. Ah, what I mean is it’s not easy to state that many significant process improvements would be found through auditing, it’s true, because many other hard working people always do their jobs before they are audited. But, it’s more important to think of what you should do enthusiastically every your role. It’s not important whether other people don’t think of what should be do. This is my latest opinion. Thank you. Shuichi

    1. It sounds like you are off to a great start in your auditing career. I hope you find it challenging and rewarding.

  4. This has been very helpful. Lately I’ve been thinking about what kind of career I would want to pursue in the near future. I am a CPA in the Philippines and currently working for a Big 4 firm as an external auditor. However, since my contract ends in November, I’ve been thinking of settling for an internal auditor job in a private corp. Lately, Ive been searching thru the web to get thoughts from other people and lucky enough, I came across this page. Thanks!

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