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Career Story: Senior Internal Auditor For A Large Financial Services Company

Senior Internal Auditor For A Large Financial Services Company

Job Title: Senior Internal Auditor

Type of Company: I work for a large financial services company that manages investments by both small and large companies.

Education: BS, Business Administration, University of Connecticut •• MBA, Finance & International Business, University of Connecticut

Previous Experience: I started in Investment Operations for a money management firm.

Job Tasks: As an internal auditor I am responsible for evaluating the internal controls for the investment operations areas, both domestic and international. Most areas of the business are audited every three years or so.

One of the first steps I take when performing an internal audit is to make sure I understand the work flow of the area I am auditing. I will review documentation from previous audits and meet with the people who are actually doing the work to make sure my understanding of the work flow is correct, and I will document any changes that need to be made. I then get a feel for the risks the business runs and ask a bunch of pointed questions. How do they ensure the cash and securities are safe? Do they have proper separation of duties so that the same person is not responsible for too many steps in the process? Are accounts reconciled regularly? Are systems backed up in the event of a system crash? What is the plan in the event of a disaster or a disruption in business? Then I develop and execute tests to make sure the controls that are in place are adequate. If I find any flaws, these are documented in our audit report and reviewed with management and together we come up with solutions to strengthen those controls.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is its variety, since no two audits are exactly alike. The job is project-based with each project lasting from 4-8 weeks. Because of the geographic locations of some of our offices I have the opportunity to travel to other countries approximately once per year in order to perform audit functions there.

The worst part of the job is that it is sometimes difficult to obtain information from auditees and sometimes many extra hours are required to meet deadlines.

Job Tips: Understand the difference between an internal and an external audit.

external audit experience is not the only background that is helpful in a career in internal audit. Operational experience is tremendously valuable as well.

Just about any business experience can be helpful to an internal audit career. Internal auditors audit all aspects of companies from Human Resources to Payroll to Operations.

The ability to see the big picture from the details and the details from the big picture is very helpful in a career in internal audit.

Additional Thoughts: I never thought I'd have a career in internal audit. Prior to taking this job I wasn't really aware of the difference between internal and external audit and always thought of auditing of any sort as an accounting function rather than an operational control. I've gained exposure to many areas of the company and have learned a lot about many different areas of the business.

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