What exactly does it mean? Check out my analysis below.
|Focus & Recognition|
|Focus||General internal audit||IT audit|
|Exam entry barrier||Bachelor (waiver available)||none|
|Standard experience required||2 years||5 years|
|Minimum specialty experience||1 year of IA||2 years of IT audit|
|# exam days per year||Throughout the year||3 days per year|
|Total exam hours||6.5||4|
|No. of parts/levels||3||1|
|Latest pass rates||40%||Unknown (~50%)|
|Estimated expenses (US$)||$1,000 – 2,000||~$1,000 – 1,500|
If you aspire to be an internal auditor, but not sure which area to specialize or that you prefer to stay at a general / management role of internal auditing within a corporation, then CIA is a good choice. If it pairs up with CPA, then it is a great combination for senior positions as head of internal audit or CAE.
CISA is useful only if you want to pursue or break into IT auditing.
CISA is the gold standard for IT auditors. If you like the job nature of IT audit, and you believe that the future of audit is moving towards more technology based audits, go for it.
Another practical benefit is that CISA is, for most people, an easier and faster exam. There is only 1 part and the scope is narrower. At the same time, it A typical candidate can get it done within 6 months (even 1-2 months if your work involves IT audit). In comparison, it may take 1-2 years for candidates to complete the 3-part CIA exam.
This is more of a short-term consideration but the CISA exam itself is more affordable. You cost you around $1,500 for a CISA certificate, vs ~$2,000 for the CIA certificate.
If you have CIA and want to specialize in CISA, it has its value. At the same time, the effort to take the pass the CISA is minimal if you still remember what you went through in the CIA exam.
But then, the other way round is less useful. Assuming that you have taken the CISA exam because you want to be an IT auditor, then getting the CIA doesn’t add much value in my opinion.
As a specialized professional within auditing, you are more likely to have higher salary. CISA certificate holders tend to earn more than CIA certificate holders. Having said that, it largely depends on your role, the company and the industry.
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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.
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