Most accountants aspire to become a CPA, but doubts remain for other accounting qualifications such as the Certified Internal Auditor designation.
Is the CIA worth it? Let’s take a look.
The IIA is an established and respected organization in the IA niche. You don’t need to be a CIA to become a member, but many do. It has a lot of benefits in terms of networking opportunities, getting the latest updates in your niche, and as part of a global voice in the field of internal audit and compliance.
Unlike the financial accounting and management accounting in which there are several certifications to choose from across the regions, there is only one single most important designation for the internal audit profession. The value of the CIA certification carries 100% when you move from one country to another.
Many internal auditors are not required by their companies to be a CIA, but the designation gives you credibility within the organization. I like what this reader is saying:
Since you are in the field of audit and compliance, eventually you might end up in front of of either Business Unit Audit Committee and Board Audit Committee. When dealing with different levels of authority, or even people that report to you within the organization, there will be an IDIOT who will judge your opinion or recommendations based on your experience and qualifications. Once in a while I have to pull the list of my designations just to shut them up.
According to The IIA Internal Audit Compensation Study, the median salary of auditors who hold their CIA designation is as much as 40 percent higher than peers without the credential.
Compared to other accounting certifications, Certified Internal Auditors seem to benefit more quickly and tangibly after getting certified. Many of my readers have reported immediate promotion and salary increase after obtaining the CIA certification.
Unlike the CPA exam in which one pretty much needs an accounting master’s degree to get qualified, the IIA accepts everyone as long as he or she has a bachelor degree (in any field). There is an alternative path for those who have an associate degree or even no degree. For details please take a look at the CIA exam requirements here.
Part 1 and Part 2 is 100% multiple choice in a specific niche. Part covers broader topics and so it could be tough for candidates strictly from the IA background, but it is doable after a few retakes.
If you have studied for the CPA exam before or you are an auditor (external or internal) by profession, it shouldn’t take you too much effort to get this done.
I would really like to help the internal audit profession grow in Namibia (and even worldwide). We have such a great potential here, albeit a small market, there is a serious lack of passionate and qualified internal auditors.
Annette, from Namibia / Switzerland
My family came from medical background but I have been inspired by my uncle who became successful in his career in accounting… I was torn between a career in internal auditing and a BS Accountancy as my second degree in another school. What made me decide in the end is my passion for internal audit. I finished the internal auditing program with honors, started looking for a job and saving funds for my CIA review and exam.
Lynnel, from the Philippines
Both Annette and Lynnel passed all 3 parts of the exam.
Check out our free mini-course to give you an introduction or the CIA exam, as well as tips and guides for you to succeed. Or, you may want to sign up directly 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.
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