Although most people associate the term "auditor" with the collection of Internal Revenue Service employees responsible for evaluating your tax return, the profession extends well beyond this single employer. In fact, auditors can be found across a wide array of industries and specializations, ranging from the federal government to the energy sector. Broadly defined, an auditor is any individual who has the skills and authorization to review financial records in order to ensure full compliance with current tax laws.
Auditors must have comprehensive knowledge of current tax laws to the fullest extent, including a thorough understanding of the credits, deductions and exemptions available to specific business entities. With such a detailed depth of experience and knowledge, auditors are often compensated generously for their work. Although an auditor salary may vary considerably depending upon their particular employer, these individuals can expect to earn an annual income above $50,000.
Newly established auditors can expect to earn around $50,000. Senior-level auditors, however, will likely earn in excess of $120,000
Exploring The Auditor Job Market
In order to become a successful auditor, the majority of these professionals first pursue a degree in finance, accounting or a related field. This academic coursework helps prepare an auditor for a variety of scenarios and challenges they will encounter post-graduation. In some scenarios, recent graduates will pursue a CPA certification in order to enhance their marketability and ensure that they are qualified for more demanding employment.
That being said, a CPA certification is typically not required in order to gain employment as an internal auditor, often considered entry-level employment for these professionals. For those seeking to expand their careers beyond an internal auditor position, a CPA certification is considered essential, as it is impossible to file reports with the SEC (a common task assigned to higher-level auditors) without this credential. In order to gain CPA status, individuals must pass the official CPA exam, as well as work under the guidance of a licensed CPA for at least one year. This type of requirement will typically be outlined in an internal auditor job description.
Assessing Auditor Salary Potential
Generally speaking, a newly minted auditor can expect to earn slightly more than $50,000. This sum will, of course, be adjusted for the cost of living in the region of the country that the auditor is employed. As an auditor gains experience and CPA licensure, their salary level will increase proportionately. For example, it is not uncommon for senior-level auditors to earn well over $120,000 per year. Of course, with this level of compensation comes a variety of stringent employment requirements relating to prior work experience and various certifications.
It is also important to keep in mind that various industrial sectors will likely provide more generous compensation due to the nature of the work. For example, an internal auditor for an oil company can likely expect to earn more than an internal auditor for a non-profit focusing on social work. Whatever the position, however, new internal auditors expect to gain valuable experience that will allow them to apply for more demanding work over time.
Ryan Cockerham is a nationally recognized author specializing in all things innovation, business and creativity. His work has served the business, nonprofit and political community. Ryan's work has been featured at Zacks Investment Research, SFGate Home Guides, Bloomberg, HuffPost and more.