The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification also supplies you with an accounting specialization. As you can see, the CIA designation is strictly for internal auditors. While internal auditors and compliance professionals have many certification options, the CIA certification is the most relevant. Internal audit is important for all companies, so the CIA will help you find a variety of employment opportunities. However, CIAs most often work for large companies performing audit procedures and helping independent auditors.
If the CIA accounting greatly interests you, you can earn the certification by fulfilling the following CIA requirements:
Examination: You have to pass the CIA exam, which features 3 parts (CIA Part 1, CIA Part 2, and CIA Part 3). The format of the CIA exam varies per part; however, each part includes 100-125 multiple-choice questions.
Education: You must have at least an associate’s degree in any discipline from an accredited university. You can get this requirement waived with 7 years of working experience in internal audit.
Experience: You need to accumulate at least 1 year of internal audit experience, depending on your education. If you have an associate’s degree or equivalent, you’ll need 5 years of experience.
While earning the CIA certification is not as challenging as earning certifications like the CPA, CIA accounting is a distinct niche. If you are not interested in internal auditing, don’t get the CIA certification.
On the other hand, if you’re ready to take your internal auditing skills to the next level, then discover how to become a certified internal auditor today. The CIA review market features several course options, so you can find the best CIA review course for you. You can also save on your exam prep with big CIA review discounts.
CIA vs. CPA
Again, you must pass an exam to earn both the CPA and the CIA. And both of these exams address auditing. What’s more, both the CPA and the CIA require a significant amount of money and time to acquire. For instance, you will need to invest anywhere from 7-9 years in the process of becoming a CPA and about 6-8 years in the process of becoming a CIA.
However, while these certifications have their similarities, they also have significant differences. For example, while individual states award the CPA license, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) grants the CIA. Likewise, candidates can visit the IIA’s website to complete the CIA exam registration process.
Another source of distinction is the responsibilities of a CIA and CPA. As a CIA, your focus is on overseeing a company’s internal financial processes. You will work to ensure compliance or to flag any deficiencies. However, you will do so internally as the employee of an organization.
Conversely, CPAs can perform the same auditing functions as CIAs, but they usually do so while working for major accounting and consulting firms. So, when you’re a CPA, many different types of businesses and organizations can hire you to do their accounting or auditing. You can also provide auditing services for not-for-profit firms.
Another distinction between the CIA and the CPA is that the CIA is an international designation, so you have a few more opportunities to use the CIA around the world. The U.S. CPA is better for jobs in America. However, some international companies do value the CPA as well. The CIA designation is very popular among internal audit job seekers in the United States, India, the Philippines, and more.