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Internal and external auditors check an organisation's financial records and procedures to make sure they're accurate and efficient.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £25,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

To be an external auditor, you’ll need to be a qualified chartered accountant with membership of one of the following professional bodies:

You’ll need to be a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to carry out audits in the public sector.
 You can become qualified by taking:

  • a graduate training scheme after completing an accountancy degree at university
  • a company's graduate scheme after completing a degree in any subject
  • the National Audit Office 3-year training scheme for graduates in any subject
  • a higher apprenticeship in professional services
To become an internal auditor, you don't have to have to be an accountant, although it may help in certain jobs.

Experience in finance, banking, HR or management can also be helpful.

You can join a company as a trainee auditor or move into auditing. You’ll usually need A levels and to take further training.

You can carry out internal audits if you’re a qualified accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to interpret figures and information
  • excellent communication skills
  • strong analytical and problem-solving ability
  • organisational and time management skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail

3. What you'll do

As an external auditor, you’ll independently review a company's accounts to make sure they’re accurate and fair.

You might also audit public sector organisations like civil service departments and local councils. You’ll check how public money is being spent and see if savings can be made.

Your day-to-day duties might involve:

  • examining company accounts
  • identifying any problems or risks to the business
  • assessing the company's financial reporting systems
  • making recommendations for improvements
As an internal auditor, you’ll examine an organisation’s policies and procedures, or finances, to try and improve them.

4. Salary

Starter: £25,000

Experienced: £34,000 to £50,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £80,000 (senior)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday, with overtime to meet deadlines at busy times. 

You’ll work from your own office or at the client's premises.

Travel to other sites and nights away from home are often involved.

6. Career path and progression

As an experienced external auditor, you could move into management and then become a partner or finance director. You could also set up your own accountancy practice.

As an experienced internal auditor, you could move into a management role. You could also become a chartered internal auditor, or become a self-employed consultant.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018