Unlike the job description for accountants that are fairly standardized, every company is free to set whatever they like and call it Internal auditor job description so long as it meets the company’s unique business need. However, there are internal audit roles and functions that must be included in the modern day business environment.
In this article on internal auditor job description, I will be talking about internal audit roles and functions from the perspective of an experienced internal auditor who has been through some thin and thick moments as an internal auditor.
The internal auditor job description described in this article is designed in such a way that organizations will immensely and immediately realize the benefits of having internal audit function.
21 Tasks that must be part of Internal auditor job description
- Perform risk based audit: It is no longer news that risk based audit approach is superior to other audit approaches. We don’t need to talk too much to convince the yet to be converted fellows of the advantages of risk based audit. That said, the most important thing to be mentioned in the job description of the internal auditor is the fact that he or she will be responsible for ensuring that risk based internal audit is followed. I have seen instances where this fact is not mentioned in the JD of an internal auditor and when the time came for implementation the internal auditor said she is not knowledgeable with implementing the risk based audit coupled with the fact that this was not mentioned anywhere in the JD that he signed upon resumption.
- Champion the preparation of risk register: It is within the purview of the internal auditor to spare head the process of preparing and maintaining an up-to date risk register of an organization. Although part of the functions of management is to safeguard assets of an organization, the fact that internal auditors are risk management specialists puts them in pole position to ensure that the right action(s) is taken towards ensuring that both the short term and long term corporate objectives of the organization is met.
- Prepare and execute audit plan: No structured meaningful result will be achieved if the internal audit department do not have a well written audit plan that is based on the identified risks contained in the risk register and what management decides to do with the risk. In fact, the main internal audit department KPI is how far they are able to execute contents of the audit plan. Make sure it is included in the job description of the internal auditor.
- Continuous review of controls: continuous review of internal controls is a baseline function that every internal auditor is expected to perform. I would be surprise if this not included in the JD of an internal auditor.
- Educate others: Yes, educating other staff members of an organization is a major task that internal auditors are expected to perform. They often educate people on best practices and also enlighten members of audit committee of the implications of certain events.
- Validate transactions: Audit is all about giving assurance. One way that the internal auditors give this assurance is by validating transactions. This as simple as validating that the correct WHT has been deducted goes a long way to giving various stakeholders peace of mind. So, make sure that the internal auditors job description includes validation of transactions.
- Cybersecurity awareness: Cybersecurity threat has come to stay. The internal auditors of today should be skilled enough to continuously create awareness of this risk and proffer solutions.
- Assets verification: Verification of assets is a key component of what the internal auditors do. Hence, it is a no brainer to include this in the JD
- Audit report: Report writing may sound obvious as part of the things that the internal auditors are expected to do but, I have seen where issues arose because the person employed for IA role does not have report writing skill.
- Pre-audit transactions: There is no much value added if all that the internal auditor does is to audit past events. Valuable time and resources are often spent chasing past event. It is best practice that internal auditors are minimally involved at the concluding part of major events just to ensure that all ‘T’s are dotted and all ‘I’s crossed.
- Cash count: Cash is the most liquid asset of a company and is most vulnerable to misappropriation and theft. The JD of internal auditors must include surprise cash count.
- Perform bank reconciliation: It is a given that internal auditors must review the bank reconciliation statements prepared by the accountants or auditors.
- Asses risks: Risks is an integral part of doing business. It is the responsibility and function of the internal audit team to assess risks and make appropriate recommendations.
- Monitor compliance: Monitoring compliance is a key part of the job description of the internal auditors.
- Perform insightful analysis: One way that internal auditors add value to their employers is to periodically perform some special audits geared towards unlocking some hidden values for the benefit of the organization
- Perform due diligence: It is not uncommon for internal audit professionals to be called upon to perform some sorts of due diligence or the other.
- Validate procurement processes: Procurement department if not properly kept under check can cause bankruptcy for a firm.
- Process audit: Internal auditors are in the business of always looking at the existing processes and making recommendations for improvements.
- Bank charges audit: Banks do sometimes overcharge their business client. You cannot image the amount of money I have helped my corporate clients recover from their banks each time I perform bank charges audit for my clients. So hiring managers must insist that their prospective internal auditor be comfortable with performing bank charges audit and include same in their JD.
- Payroll audit: Payroll is one area that must be pre-audited by the internal auditor. This is a once in a month task which must be including in the job description of the internal auditor. Internal auditors can help prevent things like over/under charging of PAYE or the inclusion of ghost workers in the payroll.
- Monthly financial statement audit: One mistake that a lot of experienced finance professional make is to think that auditing of the financial statement is not part of what the internal auditor should be concerned about. Well, as far as modern day internal audit function is concerned, monthly audit of the financial statement must be included in their JD. The audit may not audit every components of the FS on a monthly basis but systematic approach can be developed based on the risk profile of the organization being audited. Part of the uses of financial statements is to guide management in making sound economic decision so of what use with it be if errors that could easily be caught by the internal auditors are missed simply because it was not reviewed by the internal audit team?
Required Experience for Internal auditor role
Depending on one’s level within the internal audit department, the required experience could start from 1-year post qualification experience. I have seen fresh accounting graduates who made excellent addition to the internal audit team. What really matter most is that one possesses the right mix of skill sets needed to be effective in the world of accounting and finance as a whole.
Required qualification for internal auditor role Possession of first degree in any numerate discipline is often all that it takes to make a good internal auditor. However, professional, specialized qualifications like CISA, CFE or CIA is a strong pillar that employers nowadays strive to ensure that they get into their internal audit department.