Auditing manager: Explore careers and the value of an online MAc

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Today’s large and complex companies need teams of auditors to ensure their finances are legally compliant and strategically sound. These auditors bring an independent perspective to their work and rely on a keen eye for detail, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of the law and financial best practices. The most promising of these auditors will rise to auditing management roles, providing an essential link between auditors and the overall leadership team.

A corporate auditor examines financial figures

Aspiring to take on a new and rewarding role such as auditing manager is one reason for a financial professional to enter an online Master of Accounting degree program. Earning an advanced accounting diploma can show hiring managers that an individual has the up-to-date technical knowledge and practical insight to thrive in this auditing role.

What skills do auditing managers need?

Being an auditor calls for hard and soft skills, with candidates requiring an in-depth understanding of financial law and the ability to communicate effectively. An analytical mind will serve an auditor well on the road to management, as the day-to-day work of auditing involves looking for problems and improvement opportunities in vast amounts of internal financial data. The laws governing auditors’ roles are complex: Becoming an auditor in general requires mastery over that complexity, and advancement to a management role calls for consistently and accurately conforming to the law.

The Institute of Internal Auditors listed several important skills for professionals to master if they aspire to become chief auditing executives in their organizations. For instance, these auditors should show curiosity and willingness to introduce change. Auditors’ roles involve potentially discovering inefficient practices or legal violations, and auditors who demonstrate leadership potential must be fearless about exposing issues and implementing new operations. Someone who isn’t willing to suggest drastic new measures can’t deliver an optimal auditing perspective.

Auditing leaders need people management skills in addition to their grasp of financial fundamentals. Becoming responsible for a team of junior auditors isn’t a duty to take lightly, and the IIA suggested that chief auditors should be able to motivate their team members, helping younger auditors achieve their potential and factoring employees’ differing needs and preferences into their management styles. An auditing leader must present a complete package of skills, including interpersonal communication and hard financial knowledge.

What is the outlook for auditing manager salary and advancement?

Auditing managers typically earn salaries approaching six figures, in recognition of their pivotal role in leading the auditing function. According to PayScale, the average salary for an auditing manager is $88,218. These professionals can earn more than the industry average if they work for large, industry-leading companies. PayScale notes that leading employers regularly offer salaries near $100,000 for skilled auditing managers.

Employees seeking to become auditing managers may take a natural path up the corporate ladder from lower-ranked roles in the department. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics points out, such a route may begin when a professional takes a junior internal auditor role, eventually moving up to an auditor before being selected for management responsibilities. A role as an auditing manager doesn’t have to be the final step of an individual’s progression within a company; the BLS notes that many individuals rising through financial department ranks go on to seek top management positions.

Becoming a chief executive auditor is one way to go further with an auditing manager skill set, with senior manager auditor coming between these two roles on the career advancement path. PayScale also notes that auditing managers can apply for roles as financial controllers, vice presidents of finance, chief financial officers, and corporate controllers. Managing auditors who go on to serve as CFOs may be able to move up to CEO, depending on the organization’s needs and the individual’s performance.

What do students learn about auditing in online MAc programs?

Current financial professionals who have inspected the audit manager job description and decided to aim for such a role can gather some of the experience they’ll need by studying for an online MAc. Students in these programs can build their financial acumen and gain specific, up-to-date knowledge of the processes, laws, and technology related to the auditing profession, learning from top industry experts while still employed in a full-time professional role.

Numerous courses specifically designed for auditors and aspiring auditors offer key insights. The online MAc curriculum from the University of Alabama at Birmingham includes classes packed with information that could prove instructive to a managing auditor. For instance, Advanced Auditing and Attestation offers an overview of how the auditing profession reached its present state. Instructors describe the roles of the bodies that govern the field and the way conditions have changed in recent years.

The core curriculum also includes the Corporate Governance course, which puts the role of auditors in context. As electives, students can take either or both of Internal Auditing and External Auditing, which focus on the inspection of corporate finances by teams within companies and third-party bodies, respectively. Forensic Accounting and Information Technology Auditing shows off a relatively new side of the auditing process, with advanced technology used to discover financial malpractice in IT-intensive settings.

Online MAc programs are designed to have flexible coursework schedules, allowing financial professionals to study intensively while employed full time, building skills and experience that may point them to their next career steps. For independent-minded and meticulous individuals who can manage others and communicate effectively, auditing manager may be an appealing role to aim for while earning an online MAc.

Recommended Reading:

What you can learn about internal auditing at UAB

Internal auditing vs. external auditing


The Institute of Internal Auditors – Frequently Asked Questions PayScale – Average Auditing Manager Salary

The University of Alabama at Birmingham – Course Descriptions

The University of Alabama at Birmingham – Online Master’s Degree in Accounting

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Accountants and Auditors