A career in auditing: What it could look like for you

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Students who pursue their master’s in accounting degree have a wide range of opportunities available to them once they graduate from their program. One professional path this degree can lead to is an auditing career.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Master of Accounting degree offers students a range of courses focusing on auditing as a career path. Upon graduating from the program, students can master such skills as internal and external auditing, information technology auditing and working with auditors to ensure a company is following corporate governance best practices.

Hands writing in a journal with glasses next to them on a desk.

What does a career in auditing involve?

A career as an auditor gives professionals an up-close look at the inner workings of a business or organization. These people carefully review expense reports, financial statements, and maintain a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations that apply to a particular organization. Beyond looking over these documents and pieces of information, an auditor detects mistakes and advises on how to resolve them, as well as ensures that a company is conducting business in a lawful manner.

Beyond having a complete knowledge of the regulations and expectations that outside bodies, like the government or industry standards organizations, have for companies, auditors also review an institution’s internal controls. Auditors check that the company follows these controls, as well as analyzes the controls themselves to ensure they are the best ones for the company. Good controls mitigate risk, like employees changing or stealing data.

What are the different types of auditing careers?

The field of auditing is always evolving and growing with each new government regulation. Students earning an online master’s in accounting degree will learn how to keep up with this changing field, and always be up to date on the latest trends, best practices and laws.

There are multiple different types of career paths auditors can follow. Here are some of the more common types of auditing careers:

Internal auditors

Internal auditors may work for a company on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis, depending on the needs and budgetary restraints of the company. These people must know their company’s internal rules and regulations inside and out, and evaluate them according to industry standards and legal expectations. Beyond ensuring a company’s internal controls are effective and the best they can be, an internal auditor also ensures the controls are being followed properly to minimize risk.

External auditors

External auditors might take on multiple clients, each with different requirements. As such, external auditors should know a wide range of information, including the regulations that apply to different industries and types of organizations, as well as their own clients’ internal controls. External auditors often create reports that are shared with an organization’s shareholders, and other invested parties, like the board of directors or the executive team. External auditors typically work for public accounting firms.

Tax auditors

While internal and external auditors focus on a wide range of laws, controls and regulations, tax auditors are concerned with only one area of focus: tax law. These people ensure that a company and all its employees are following all tax laws on the federal, state and local levels.

What auditing skills do graduate students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham learn?

Students pursuing their online accounting master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business can take five courses in which auditing and working with auditors are discussed in detail.

AC 612: Corporate Governance

This course teaches students the importance of making the best decisions that benefit all stakeholders in a company, including executives, employees, the board of directors, the community, consumers, suppliers, government bodies and more. One part of this includes working with independent auditors, who may offer advice and assistance in developing a corporate governance plan and keeping the company accountable to it.

AC 606: Advanced Auditing and Attestation

The auditing career has evolved over time. This course will discuss what developments brought the field to what it is today, as well as discuss current changes in this career path. Further, students will learn about the various governmental bodies they’ll need to be familiar with to succeed as an auditor.

AC 513: Internal Auditing

This course discusses the theory and practice of developing and applying internal controls and other auditing principles. It also identifies typical auditing problems that people may face and how to handle them.

AC 523: External Auditing

External auditors may work with a variety of clients, each with different auditing needs. This course will discuss what it means to be an external auditor and the standards these professionals must follow.

AC 572: Forensic Accounting and Information Technology Auditing

Forensic accounting involves the practice of identifying criminals by evaluating financial statements and other documents. This course will give students an introduction to this potential career path, as well as highlight how information technology helps professionals in this field. Forensic Accounting and Information Technology Auditing has an emphasis on how auditing methods and values can be applied to accounting information systems to the advantage of the forensic accountant.

Let UAB help propel your auditing career

A career in auditing can be an exciting and fulfilling profession. To learn more about pursuing your Master of Accounting degree through the Collat School of Business, reach out to a University of Alabama at Birmingham enrollment advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
Is a Master’s Degree in Accounting Worth It?
FAQs about the Master of Accounting (MAc) enrollment process

Sources:
1. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/financial-careers/08/career-auditor-auditing.asp
2. https://businessdegrees.uab.edu/course-descriptions-macc/
3. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/professionals/120215/financial-auditor-career-path-qualifications.asp
4. http://www.online-accounting-degrees.net/faq/types-auditing-jobs/