Most accountants have heard of the CIA certification, but you may not know that there are specialty certifications offered by the IIA.
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) Certification
This is the general designation for internal auditors, and the most globally recognized. We cover Certified Internal Auditor exam primarily in this site.
The CIA exam itself is a 3-part exam. You can choose to take the extra “Part 4” to add a specialization in your certification.
Specialty IIA Certifications
The following are single-part examinations:
CGAP stands for Certified Government Auditing Professional. It is designed for auditors working in the public sector at federal, state, or local level, as well as in governmental agencies.
CFSA stands for Certified Financial Services Auditor. It is for internal audit professionals working in banks, insurance companies and financial services.
CCSA stands for Certification in Control Self-Assessment. It is the certification for control self-assessment practitioners. It measures a candidate’s knowledge of important CSA fundamentals, processes, and related topics such as risk, controls, and business objectives.
CRMA stands for Certification in Risk Management Assurance. It is the certification for risk management assurance. It demonstrates whether a candidate can identify key risk management and governance processes in their organizations and how to present to audit committee and management.
Specialty IIA Certification Requirements
The entry of barrier is slightly lower than that for CIA.
1. Educational Requirements
- 4-year degree (post-secondary or higher) from accredited colleges or universities, or
- A combination 2-year post-secondary education AND 3-year business experience.
2. Experience Requirements
The experience must be verified by a IIA Global Certification holder, or your supervisor. The certification holder can be a CIA, CGAP, CFSA, CCSA or CRMA. The supervisor can be your current or former manager.
- CCSA: 1 year of control-related business experience, such as CSA, auditing, quality assurance, risk management, or environmental auditing.
- CFSA: 2 years auditing experience in a financial services environment.
- CGAP: 2 years auditing experience in a government environment (federal, state/provincial, local, quasi-governmental areas, authority/crown corporation).
- CRMA: 2 years auditing experience or controls-related business experience
Do I Need a Specialty IIA Certification?
It depends on your time commitment and career aspiration. For most people who are interested in general internal audit, the CIA certification is sufficient in my opinion. However, if you don’t mind taking one extra exam to get an additional recognition in your own niche area, it could be beneficial in a longer term.
Also, if you cannot get qualified for CIA, these specialty certifications have slightly lower exam requirements which opens the door for some candidates.
For Your Reference
Here are the links to the official IIA website:
- CGAP (Certified Government Auditing Professional)
- CFSA (Certified Financial Services Auditor)
- CCSA (Certification in Control Self-Assessment)
- CRMA (Certification in Risk Management Assurance)
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