Internal audit jobs represent a specific group of positions in the accounting industry, which are spread throughout public and private organizations. The job descriptions for these positions can vary widely, especially depending on the level and expertise of the auditor. In the public accounting industry, an internal auditor works under contract for clients, preparing audits for the use of each client. In private accounting, an internal auditor works directly for a company and handles financial or operational audits. Internal audit jobs — whether public or private — are meant to help a company’s management better understand its operations and correct faults in certain business activities.
A public accounting firm uses internal auditors to review publicly held companies in most cases. These audit positions include an audit supervisor and several auditors, who most likely do the majority of the work. The auditors work directly for the public accounting firm and handle each client as a specific job, which is typically created through the use of contracts. The purpose of these internal audit jobs is to present a report for internal use by the company or meet specific government regulations for internal audits of a publicly held company. Though confusing, it is a common practice for internal auditors to work at a public accounting firm in this fashion.
Private companies can also hire internal auditors as part of their accounting staff. These positions are most common in large organizations that have several accountants working in this department on a variety of accounting tasks. The internal audit jobs typically have one of two focuses: financial or operational. A financial internal auditor reviews the company’s documents or accounting statements produced by other accountants in the department. These positions ensure each accountant follows company policy and does not violate any national accounting standards or other accounting principles.
An internal auditor that focuses on operational tasks may or may not include financial documents in this review. For example, in a large automotive retailer, an internal auditor may ensure that all mechanics follows rules for filling out and finishing service tickets. These internal audit jobs serve the purpose of compliance, whether the rules are internal to the company or from outside regulators. While these workers may be under the direct supervision of the accounting department, the individual may not work exclusively in this area. The same education and rules for this position, however, tend to be the same as an internal auditor who works in financial accounting.