Many auditors and accountants in Canada are looking for ways to stand out in their careers. And they can choose from a number of accounting certifications to help them meet their goals. Yet, only one certification is best to pursue: the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification. As a CIA, you’ll receive better job opportunities, enjoy greater job satisfaction, and take home a bigger paycheck. Therefore, you can’t beat the advantages of the CIA Canada. And, as an added bonus, the process of earning the CIA is less cumbersome than that of other certifications. So, do yourself a great favor and learn everything you need to know about becoming a Certified Internal Auditor in Canada.
Worldwide, the CIA certification is the most highly regarded professional qualification for internal auditors. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) administers the CIA certification and offers global yet local benefits to internal auditors in Canada. These benefits include:
CIAs earn more than internal auditors who do not hold the certification. For example, the IIA shares that CIAs in the U.S. earn up to 51% more than their non-certified auditor peers. Likewise, you can expect to see your earnings potential expand when you become a CIA in Canada.
Similarly, a CIA certification can change the trajectory of your career. You’ll have an advantage when applying for or seeking out new roles. You’ll also be well-positioned for advancement opportunities. For example, you could move into leadership roles including Internal Audit Director, Chief Audit Executive, or Vice President of Internal Audit.
But you can also use your CIA to transition into a job in a new industry or field. So, as a CIA in Canada, you could find yourself with a job in the field of healthcare, technology, government, engineering, and more.
As an auditor in Canada, you’ve likely seen the regulatory environment become more complicated, locally and around the world. Not surprisingly, as a result, organizations are looking for highly qualified internal auditors who can help them navigate these complex regulations and minimize risk. The industry needs expert internal auditors to root out cases of external and internal fraud, detect vulnerabilities in IT systems, and streamline convoluted processes. Consequently, the demand for CIAs is greater than ever. CIAs are uniquely positioned to meet even the most challenging job demands. And for this reason, companies go out of their way to find and keep CIAs in Canada.
As you may know, internal auditors are responsible for improving an organization’s operations through a systematic and disciplined approach. Frequently, they bring value to their organizations by:
Therefore, to become a CIA, you must show that you can fully perform these tasks. You demonstrate this level of competency through your education and experience, and by successfully passing the comprehensive CIA exam. Then, once you’ve earned the certification, you’ll have internal auditing skills and abilities that far surpass those of the average internal auditor.
Historically, internal auditors have been heavily focused on financial auditing. But times have changed. Now, internal auditors largely concentrate on risk-based audits. So, internal auditors are necessary for protecting an organization, its assets, and its brand.
And, as the role of internal auditor has changed, so has the perception of the role. Today, the internal auditing industry sees internal auditors as business partners and change agents. And this level of respect and regard only grows when internal auditors earn their CIA because the CIA certification demonstrates extensive industry knowledge and commitment.
The Certified Internal Auditor salary in Canada clearly shows one of the main advantages of earning the certification. For example, PayScale reports that the average Certified Internal Auditor salary in Canada as CAD 76,000. However, average salaries can also differ by location:
|Canadian City||CIA Salary Range (CAD)|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||62,329-103,434|
Comparatively, PayScale shows the average salary of a regular internal auditor as CAD 66,363 and the average salary of an auditor as CAD 57,028. What’s more, without the CIA certification, even an experienced internal auditor has an average salary cap of CAD 81,813. Clearly, having the CIA in Canada allows you to grow your bank account.
Also, CIAs have jobs of all kinds and quality levels available to them. Again, PayScale shows the financial benefits of a CIA certification. The chart below reveals that CIAs in Canada are eligible for a wide range of well-paying jobs.
|CIA Job||CIA Salary (CAD)|
|Internal Auditing Manager||97,412|
|Senior Internal Auditor||81,813|
|Health and Safety Coordinator||53,735|
|Quality Assurance Manager||73,507|
|Internal Audit Director||131,115|
|Senior Manager Auditor||105,000|
Well-known organizations in Canada that employ CIAs include Medavia Blue Cross, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Ernst & Young, People Group, and RBC Bank.
Clearly, CIAs in Canada have a lot to gain professionally and financially. So, you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s the next step? How can I become eligible for the CIA?”
Well, the IIA Canada has not set any country-specific policies or procedures. Therefore, to earn your CIA certification, you must meet the global requirements set forth by the IIA. These requirements include the following:
To qualify for the CIA, you must have an associate’s degree or higher. And the IIA will accept common associate’s degree equivalents. These equivalents include a Foundation Degree, Diploma of Higher Education, Higher National Diploma, or 3 A-level certificates with a grade of C or higher.
The IIA will also accept student applications. Therefore, you can apply for the CIA Canada if you are a full-time college student in your senior year.
To verify your education, you must provide the IIA with a copy of your degree, official transcripts, or A-level certificates, a letter from your college or university that confirms your degree, or a letter for an evaluation service that confirms your degree level.
However, if you do not meet the IIA CIA education requirements, you may be able to substitute experience for education. The IIA may let you substitute 7 years of verified experience in internal audit or its equivalent for a degree.
Finally, all documentation related to your education or equivalent work experience must be submitted through the IIA’s Certification Document Upload Portal (CDUP).
Companies trust CIAs to handle highly sensitive and confidential information. Therefore, because of the nature of the job, the IIA holds CIAs to the highest standards of character. For this reason, all CIA candidates must submit a Character Reference stating they will live by the IIA’s code of moral and professional behavior. And you must have a CIA, CCSA, CFSA, CRMA, or your supervisor sign your form.
Additionally, you must provide the IIA with a copy of your current and official driver’s license, passport, or national identity card. What’s more, you must ensure that the photo is clear when you upload the document.
The IIA will review your application, documentation, and other forms. Then, once the IIA approves you for CIA candidacy, you will be eligible to sit for the CIA exam. The exam includes 3 parts, and you must pass each part to earn your CIA certification.
The CIA exam includes confidential material, so you aren’t allowed to disclose any information about it. For this reason, once you take the exam, you can’t discuss its content with anyone outside of the IIA’s Certification Department. And if you do not abide by this confidentiality policy, the IIA can disqualify you from earning the CIA.
The CIA certification indicates a certain level of competency. As such, the IIA requires candidates to have the necessary experience in relevant fields. These fields include external auditing, quality assurance, compliance, and internal control.
And the number of years of experience you need depends on your education level. So, the work experience requirement for CIA candidates breaks down as:
|Education Level||Years of Work Experience Required|
|Master’s Degree (or equivalent)||12 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent|
|Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent)||24 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent|
|Associate degree, 3 A-Level Certificates, grade C or higher (or equivalent)||60 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent|
You also must have a supervisor (current or former) or a CIA, CCSA, CGAP, CFSA, or CRMA verify your work experience.
CIA candidates have 3 years to meet all the certification requirements. And, the clock starts as soon as you receive program approval from the IIA. If you cannot fulfill all the CIA requirements within the 3-year window, you will forgo all exam credits and fees. So, essentially, you will have to start over if you decide to continue with the certification.
The IIA expects CIAs to keep learning and growing within the field. So, once you receive your CIA certification, you will need to meet the IIA’s continuing professional education (CPE) requirements.
The IIA will give you 40 hours of CPE during the year you earn the CIA. You will then receive another 40 hours the following year for a total of 80 hours over a 2-year period. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about earning your CPE credits until 2 years after you receive your CIA certification.
Then, the number of CPE hours you need to fulfill will depend on your reporting status. In other words, are you currently practicing as an internal auditor or in a similar role? This chart outlines the number of required CPE hours required based on reporting status.
|Reporting Status||Definition||Use Certification||CPE Hours for CIA|
|Practicing||Actively performing internal audit or related activities||Yes||40|
|Non-practicing||Not actively performing internal audit or related activities||No||20|
The IIA will approve CPE hours from educational programs that meet the Professional Certification Board’s (PCB) established guidelines. All CIAs, practicing or otherwise, must also commit 2 hours of CPE hours each year to an ethics topic.
Finally, when you receive your CIA certification, you agree to abide by the IIA’s Code of Ethics. If you do not agree, you could be disqualified from earning the certification.
The IIA does allow for some flexibility in the experience and education requirements. For example, if you have the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification or the U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license, you may be exempt from the CIA education and experience requirements. The PCB will waive the education and experience requirements for ACCA members and the education requirement for U.S. CPAs.
If you qualify for either of these exemptions, you can indicate so on your CIA program application. Your application will be considered “pending” until the IIA certification administrators can verify that your membership or license is current and active.
As a reminder, the CIA exam includes 3 parts. The 3 exam parts consist of:
1: Essentials of Internal Auditing
2: Practice of Internal Auditing
3: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing
The 3 CIA exam parts include questions on a range of internal auditing topics within defined content areas.
|1. Essentials of Internal Auditing||2. Practice of Internal Auditing||3. Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing|
|I. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)||I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)||I. Business Acumen (35%)|
|II. Independence and Objectivity (15%)||II. Planning the Engagement (20%)||II. Informational Security (25%)|
|III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)||III. Performing the Engagement (40%)||III. Information Technology (20%)|
|IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)||IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)||IV. Financial Management (20%)|
|V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)|
|VI. Fraud Risks (10%)|
The questions of the CIA exam are 100% multiple-choice (MCQs). But the number of MCQs varies somewhat among the 3 exam parts. Therefore, the amount of time you have to complete each part also differs. Below, I’ve included the number of questions and the time limit for each exam part:
|Exam Part||Duration||Number of Questions|
|1||2 ½ hours||125|
Additionally, the CIA exam assesses your knowledge of internal auditing topics at 2 cognitive levels or depths of understanding. According to the CIA exam syllabus, the 2 levels are basic and proficient. The IIA integrates the levels into the CIA exam as a way to ensure candidates truly understand critical concepts.
The exam syllabus defines the cognitive levels as:
Furthermore, the CIA exam parts assess the following number of topics at each cognitive level:
|Exam Part||Basic Level||Proficient Level|
The CIA exam score ranges from 250 to 750. And, a passing score is 600. Most recently, I’ve tracked the overall CIA exam rate at 42%.
Moreover, the CIA exam is 100% computer-based. Combining this exam quality with the fact that the exam uses only MCQs results in a real advantage for test takers: You instantly receive an unofficial score after you finish the exam. Therefore, you won’t have to spend weeks worrying about your results. Then, later, you can then view your official score report on the IIA website.
The IIA works with Pearson VUE to administer the CIA exam in more than 900 testing centers around the world. And currently, the previous version of the CIA exam is available in Czech, Estonian, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, and Polish. Also, the 2019 version of the CIA exam is available or will soon be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Arabic, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Chinese Simplified, and Thai.
To earn your CIA certification in Canada, you must meet the IIA program requirements and pay all relevant CIA fees. So, as you move forward with your CIA certification, you’ll want to account for an application fee and the 3 CIA exam part fees. But you don’t have to let these fees overwhelm you. Instead, you can plan and budget accordingly. You should also strongly consider becoming an IIA Canada member. As a member, you can reduce your overall CIA costs.
CIA certification is not dependent on becoming an IIA Canada member. But becoming an IIA Canada member yields numerous advantages because as an individual member of IIA Canada, you are also as a member of the IIA. So, you benefit locally and globally by being able to:
And, you can get discounts on CIA exam fees!
The IIA Canada offers individual and corporate memberships. The fee structure for individual members is as follows:
|Membership Type||Annual Membership Cost (USD)||Annual Membership Cost (CAD)|
To become a regular member of the IIA Canada, simply apply online.
You must pay application and exam fees to become a CIA in Canada regardless of whether or not you decide to become an IIA member. Yet, as an IIA member, you will pay less in overall fees.
|Pricing||IIA Members (USD)||Non-Members (USD)||IIA Members (CAD)||Non-Members (CAD)|
|Exam Part 1||280||395||369.39||521.10|
|Exam Part 2||230||345||303.43||455.14|
|Exam Part 3||230||345||303.43||455.14|
Clearly, your IIA membership helps you save significantly on the CIA program. At the same time, it provides you with a wealth of opportunity and knowledge. For example, you can connect with the global IIA organization while meeting face-to-face with your local peers.
Therefore, a CIA certification is an investment with a high return. The money you spend on application and exam fees and a CIA exam prep course will be more than worth it once you earn the CIA and a bigger paycheck. Remember, the average CIA earns twice as much as their non-certified peers.
Are you ready to earn your CIA and advance your career? If so, review the 7 steps to becoming a CIA in Canada. The steps cover the CIA exam requirements and the actions to take to ensure you can pass the CIA exam.
I believe finding a CIA review course should be the first thing you do on your CIA journey. So, once you’re confident you can meet the IIA requirements for the CIA program, you should take this step. Doing so leaves you plenty of time to study throughout the CIA application and exam registration process. And when you’re able to schedule and sit for the exam, you’ll be more than ready to do so.
Purchasing a Certified Internal Auditor course in Canada is necessary to help you pass the CIA exam. A CIA review course gives you important insight into the exam content. What’s more, it also allows you to apply what you’ve learned. And, it provides you with a built-in exam support system.
Moreover, a CIA review course gives you access to crucial study materials in a single, convenient format. These materials include textbooks, practice exams, video and audio lectures, and flashcards. And normally, you have access to these materials until you pass the exam.
But a CIA review course gives you more than just study guides. It can also help you create an effective study plan, stay on schedule, and master even the most complex exam concepts.
For these reasons, I highly recommend purchasing a CIA review course. If you do, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect of the exam content and the exam experience.
Clearly, a CIA review course is a sound investment. And to get the most out of it, you’ll want to pick one of the top courses in the industry. Fortunately, you have plenty of well-reviewed courses to choose from, including the most popular CIA review course. And, you can use these CIA review course discounts to save on your perfect course.
You can also contact me for further information on finding the best CIA review course for you.
When you’re ready to apply for the CIA program, you need to visit the IIA website and create an account in the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS).
After you’ve successfully created your account, you’ll be able to fill out your CIA application. At this point, you can also submit your character reference, proof of identification, and other documentation.
As a final step, you’ll have to pay the application fee. This fee is payable via credit card, check, or wire transfer. Then, you’ll receive a confirmation email from the IIA upon successful receipt of your application and payment. Typically, this email arrives within 24-48 hours.
Once the IIA accepts your application and enrolls you in the CIA program, you will be ready to schedule your CIA exam testing appointment.
The exam registration process is a simple one. You log into the IIA CCMS, register for the appropriate exam part(s), fill out the registration form, and pay the CIA exam part fees.
CIA exam registration consists of 2 parts. First, you’ll register for the exam through the IIA CCMS. You’ll then receive an email from the IIA with the subject line, “Authorization to Test.” Second, you’ll follow the instructions in the email to complete the registration process through Pearson VUE. Simply click on the link provided to go to the Pearson VUE website. From there, you can choose an exam date and location that works best for you. Typically, Pearson VUE testing centers are open 5-6 days a week.
After you receive the initial email from the IIA, you’ll need to wait 48 hours to register with Pearson VUE. But once that 48 hours is over, you’ll have 180 days to schedule and sit for your exam part.
If you took my advice and purchased a CIA review course right away in the CIA certification process, then you’ll be well-situated to sit for and pass the exam at this point. But to know that you’re really ready to pass, you’ll want to clock a certain number of CIA exam study hours. If you’re pretty familiar with the exam content, you can study for a minimum number of hours. And if you need to review the essential internal auditing principles, then you should plan to study for a safer number of hours. You can see the total number of study hours I suggest for each scenario in this table:
|Exam Part||Minimum # of Study Hours||Safe # of Study Hours|
The ability to pass the CIA exam often comes down to adequate study and prep time. So, keep these study hour guidelines in mind as you create your study and exam schedules. You need enough time to study, practice the exam, and focus on any weak spots. You should also check out these additional CIA exam prep tips to boost your chances of passing the CIA exam on the first try.
The IIA does not require you to meet the experience requirement before you take the CIA exam. But you must complete the CIA program requirements within 3 years. And remember, the IIA does require CIA candidates to have at least 12 months experience in a relevant field.
As a CIA candidate, the last step you’ll likely need to take in earning your certification is submitting the work experience form. Fortunately, you should receive the CIA certification from the IIA just a few days after submitting the form. From that point, you’ll have 2 years before you must start earning those CPE credits.
I have even more resources about the CIA process, including important tips for passing each exam part the first time. You’ll find them all in my free CIA e-course. The course is the go-to for internal auditors who want to become a CIA and successfully pass the exam. So, get my Certified Internal Auditor course details in Canada or sign up below!
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.