Essential Components of an Auditor Job Description

Accountemps auditor

Internal auditors play an essential role in companies by providing an independent, objective assessment of a firm's operations. They help an organization accomplish its objectives through a systematic, disciplined approach to risk management, control and governance processes. As a result, finding highly skilled, objective auditors with integrity is a must. Because of the importance of these employees, the hiring process for this position must be precise.

Job description

One critical area requiring precision is the job description. Since this typically is the basis of the job posting, the more accurately it describes the position's specific responsibilities and the attributes required, the greater your chances of avoiding hiring mistakes. If you omit details, the job description will be just vague enough to throw open the floodgates to dozens (if not hundreds) of candidates who aren't an appropriate match for the position.

What's more, without a solid job description you drastically decrease your chances of finding the right person. Thus, depending on the level of auditor you need to hire, make sure your job description includes details such as these:

Entry- and staff-level internal auditors

Auditor positions at the entry and staff levels typically do not require education beyond a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance. An auditor must be detail-oriented and proficient in Microsoft Office applications. Auditors should also have a clear comprehension of:

  • Accounting, finance and internal controls and standards
  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
  • Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements
  • The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO)
  • Risk-assessment practices

Managers and senior audit staff

Building on the requirements of staff-level auditors, managers and senior staff must have five to eight years of experience in public or private industry accounting, plus:

  • Professional designations such as the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
  • Master's in business administration (MBA) degree (for internal audit managers)
  • Critical thinking, communication and analytic skills
  • Project-management skills
  • Ability to interact with upper management
  • Ability to work independently
  • Supervisory experience

Chief audit executive, internal audit director, VP of internal audit

In addition to the requirements listed above, executive auditor requirements include:

  • Significant experience with financial and accounting applications and financial and operational controls
  • Objectivity
  • Interpersonal skills, including the ability to explain complex topics to non-auditing audiences
  • Team leadership expertise
  • Ability to guide management's decisions based on financial reporting
  • Ability to support various departments within the company, such as legal and anti-fraud

How to wrap it up

Remember that the first performance evaluation of a new employee is often based on how well he or she fulfilled the duties stated in the job description. Make sure there are no surprises or hidden responsibilities to trip audit professionals up once they are hired. Clearly explain any subsequent changes in expectations that may occur mid-year.

Transparency is key to a useful, thorough auditor job description and ultimately to a successful new hire.

Find more practical advice about writing effective job descriptions on the Robert Half website.