Job Title: Internal Audit Manager
Type of Company: My company is the largest retailer and distributor of office products, selling through both retail stores and also delivery to small, medium, and large companies.
Education: Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Boston College •• Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting, Northeastern University
Previous Experience: I began my career as an auditor for a public accounting firm, which audits the financial statements of other companies. Then, I worked at a movie cinema company that also owned a soft drink distributor. For this company, I was an auditor and then later did accounting and financial analysis work (budgeting, explaining why expenses increased or decreased. Next, I worked for a large mutual fund company in Boston as an Audit Manager.
Job Tasks: My goal of my job is to help the company reduce risks in the business. There are many risks to a large business. A company may unintentionally break federal or state laws. A company could also have poor procedures that result in bad service to its customers (e.g., delivering products to the customer in one week, when we promised they'd receive them in one day; or delivering only a desk to a customer when they also ordered a chair).
My job is to talk with many employees in the company in many areas of the company (Finance, Legal, Warehouse, Shipping, Marketing, etc.) to figure out which areas the Audit Department should audit. Then, I am responsible for managing the auditors who conduct the audits. For example, we might do an audit in the warehouse, where we will make sure there are "checks and balances" in the procedures so that the company doesn't receive only 200 ink cartridges from a vendor but end up paying for 300. We might also audit the function that pays the bills for the company, to make sure they pay the bills on time and pay the right amount. We might also audit to make sure the company complies with laws. For example, our computer systems have a lot of private customer information, such as credit card numbers. We audit to make sure the company protects that information in accordance with laws. After each audit, we write and distribute an audit report to recommend how the company can improve its procedures.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is that I get to meet many people in a very large company - many people at all levels in the organization, right up to executive vice presidents. I also get a chance to learn a little bit about many different areas of the company, and about business units in many countries. I travel to the UK, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, etc.
The worst part of the job is that some people really don't want to have their processes audited and/or don't have much time to help us with our audit. This can be frustrating when you are trying to get things done.
1. Learn as much as you can about business in different functions / areas. Always be open to learning.
2. Work on your oral communications skills, learn how to communicate well, how to do presentations, and how to establish good relationships with people.
3. Always have a good attitude, work hard with a sense of urgency, and be willing to help your organization in any way. This will enable you to be a top performer and be able to keep your job when others are laid off in difficult economic times.
Additional Thoughts: If you want to be an internal auditor, it is best to work for a CPA firm, preferably a "Big 4" accounting firm, and earn your CPA license.
In general, some people choose a career that is something that will earn them a good salary, but you must also make sure it is something you will enjoy doing for years. If not, you will not be happy, no matter how much money you have.
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