The transition into Internal Audit can be made at many stages for the qualified accountant, and brings with it numerous advantages and springboard effects for your career. The opportunities in this area at the moment are substantial, as many of the leading industry and financial services companies have learnt lessons from the downturn in the economy and are bulking up their Internal Audit functions to ensure their controls are much tighter and comprehensive. The fact is for some of the leading multinationals and PLC’s in Ireland, Internal Audit is a genuine opportunity for candidates to get in the door with a company of choice, with the view to moving internally in the short to medium term.
Here are the key reasons why Internal Audit is a good career step for qualified accountants:
A gateway to top employers
Most PLC’s use Internal Audit as their ‘talent acquisition pool’. Internal Audit is seen as a gateway into these top businesses. In most cases the Internal Audit team has a flat structure and there is not a long term Internal Audit career path in place – it is simply a way of learning the business before moving into other areas of finance. When I speak with Financial Controllers or Financial Directors – many had completed a spell as an Internal Auditor to fast track their career.
Increasing your knowledge of the business
If you want to really get to know a business inside out, a period in the Internal Audit function provides you with ample opportunity to achieve this. Talented audit professionals cultivate a strong, thorough understanding and broad perspective of all the functional areas of a company’s operations. Essentially you get a bird’s eye view of the company and when it comes to job opportunities in other finance areas within the organisation, this understanding of the business will ensure you stand out against your peers when moving from Internal Audit.
Exposure to all levels of management
You get unprecedented exposure to all levels of management, so you learn what is involved in the different teams and sections. It provides you with the opportunity to make an informed decision on a career move once in the business, as opposed to assuming a specific role now is right for you.
An opportunity to raise your profile
Internal Audit provides the candidate with the opportunity to raise his/her profile within the organisation. In this position you deal directly with senior management in the business and in many cases the board.
Better worklife balance
Internal Audit differs significantly in comparison to an External Audit role in professional services; you are not being charged out per hour to a client, there is a lot more down time, controlled project work and no month end process. Equally, the hours in Internal Audit are often preferable to external audit – it’s common to work from 9am-5pm.
So next time you come across an Internal Audit role, think about these key potential future benefits and springboard effects it can have on your career path. If you are looking at exploring your opportunities in Internal Audit or other areas of finance, please get in touch with our team on 01 661 0444 for a confidential discussion.