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Internal auditing is a profession with a long history, and it is a function that continues to evolve with the swift pace of Singaporean regulatory changes and compliance challenges.
It is internal auditors who are responsible for providing assurance on corporate governance, risk management, internal control, and operations, in all types of business conditions.
Another reason the demand for internal auditors, including those who work on a consulting basis, is so strong is that many organisations across industries are growing — and launching new revenue-generating initiatives.
While these pursuits create opportunities, they also can invite risk that internal auditors must help the business to assess and monitor.
So, what are the most convincing arguments for applying for internal audit jobs in Singapore?
Demand is high for Internal Audit jobs in Singapore
As the Robert Half Salary Guide for Singapore points out, internal audit is one of the in-demand finance and accounting positions in today's hiring market.
Risk and compliance concerns are driving hiring at many companies, particularly in highly regulated industries like banking, insurance, healthcare, and financial services.
As organisations push to improve internal controls and transparency, they are also looking for internal auditors and IT auditors. Many are also willing to train to fill specific needs.
Potential internal auditing jobs on this career path include entry-level internal auditors, such as auditing specialists, risk assessment specialists, lead internal auditors, financial analysts, internal controls auditors and information systems auditors.
Other positions are lead internal auditors, such as senior internal auditors, and internal audit supervisors, such as audit managers, risk managers and internal audit directors.
Finally, there are the internal audit executives, including finance directors, CFOs, and controllers.
Internal auditors are in the corporate spotlight
Internal auditors gain an in-depth, up-close understanding of the processes, policies, and procedures of an organisation.
Partnering with management, they can provide invaluable operational knowledge and industry insights to companies, with frequent exposure to the board.
That experience may shape the rest of their careers.
Financial services institutions in Singapore also rely heavily on their internal audit teams to help secure transparency and accountability throughout their organisations.
The more complex regulatory environment means businesses must balance revenue-generating activities with the need to meet regulatory directives, implement new capital structures and manage institutional risk.
Common responsibilities of an internal auditor include the following:
- Analysis of operations and procedures
- Compliance review
- Evaluation of internal controls
- Safeguard assurances
Career path of an Internal Audit professional
Many people start out in public accounting before they move to internal auditing.
But others jump right into the field and find that career progression from an entry-level internal auditing position can lead to management positions, such as chief audit executive on up to CEO.
As far as finance and accounting certifications that can be required later on, companies often look for candidates who have completed various certification programs, which require a combination of education, examination and work experience.
Some of those designations include the following:
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Designations such as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can greatly enhance your career marketability.
If you have already earned one or both, consider augmenting them with an additional credential, such as the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) or an MBA.
Advanced certifications and degrees can increase your value to companies and land you a bump in starting salary. You may even be to secure your company’s help in attaining them.
More and more organisations are finding out just how critical a role internal auditing plays in this world of global regulatory changes and rapidly emerging technologies.
And more accounting and finance professionals are finding that this business-savvy role of internal auditing gives them key insights into the inner workings of companies, with skills that can transfer to other areas — and a compelling career path.
Technical and soft skills of an Internal Auditor
Internal auditors take pride in their technical expertise.
Their organisations count on them to know exactly how to help the business meet compliance demands and manage risks.
To succeed in a management position in internal audit, professionals need proficiency and experience with common job functions, including:
- Examining financial statements for accuracy
- Ensuring conformance with laws and regulations
- Making recommendations on best practices for financial operations
- Suggesting ways to increase efficiency and control costs
- Reporting and addressing risk management issues
Changes in technology — including the growing use of data analytics in internal audit — are also having an impact on the mix of skills that internal auditors need to succeed in their profession.
Technical skills, while important, are not the only thing employers look for in candidates for internal auditor roles, however. A solid range of in-demand soft skills and attributes, including communication abilities and traits like integrity and diplomacy, are often equally important for career success in the field today.
Soft skills are important for internal auditors to possess because they are essential to their ability to affect positive change in the organisation.
Internal auditors who want to grow their non-technical skills, particularly critical and strategic thinking abilities, may need to take the initiative to find ways to achieve their goal — and help advance their career.
Letting your manager know that you seek development opportunities is a good starting place. If budget is an issue, suggest mentoring or job rotation as potential options for development. These arrangements demand the application of soft skills.