Author Topic: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path  (Read 1082 times)

Sibley

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Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« on: October 21, 2019, 08:46:05 AM »
I'm throwing this out there because I'm stuck.

I'm an auditor. Started in public accounting auditing governmental entities, then after about 6 years moved into Internal Audit. I'm a damn good auditor, and have chosen not to go the management route. One, because I wouldn't get to do the stuff I enjoy, and two, because I'd have to do a bunch of stuff I don't like and honestly kinda suck at. I'd be miserable, and then I'd make everyone else miserable. I do not want to do this.

My problem is that my industry is in some sort of meltdown. Every company I'm aware of - the audit dept is in trouble. Lots of toxic management, mismanagement, etc. My company is not immune. For the first time in my career I went to HR about a manager's behavior (verbal abuse over months). The head of my department is also problematic, resulting in incoherent mgmt overall. It's a mess.

I'd like to jump ship. I could. But I don't know where to go. All the audit shops are in some varying state of trouble. I've always been interested in the pure accounting/finance side of things, and I could easily transfer to any of those departments in my current company. But since I'm the company, I also know what's going on in those areas and they're a mess too. I'd have a hard time breaking into accounting/finance at another company because I don't have the experience, and they wouldn't know me already.

I don't want to go back to public accounting. I don't want to deal with the hours and travel, I also don't agree with some of what FASB, GASB, and PCAOB are doing.

I could go back to my previous company, which I left because of some dysfunctional management. I could take a sideways turn and work on a team with management that I KNOW is awesome, but it's not audit. They keep trying to get me to come back, so that is an option.

Plus, I like audit! I enjoy what I do, I'm good at what I do. My current situation is not unmanageable (mostly because I know I have options so can push back on the worst of it), and the money's decent. I'm stuck, and could use some outside perspectives.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 09:02:54 AM »
Warning - I just did a silent 10 day meditation retreat so this is influencing my response...

The only person you can change is yourself.
The only person you can control is yourself.
Don't classify events as good or bad,  it just is what it is.
Do what you can within your sphere of control and let the rest go.


I don't see a clear winner in any of your options except maybe going with the good management one as that seems to be your biggest present complaint?  Don't burn any bridges but a change just for change's sake might do you good?

Proud Foot

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2019, 11:11:19 AM »
Have you looked at internal audit roles within other industries? There might be a few regulation and procedural things to get up to speed on but I think having the internal audit experience you have would be a big benefit. Do you have your CIA, CPA, or CFE?

Sibley

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 11:51:18 AM »
Have you looked at internal audit roles within other industries? There might be a few regulation and procedural things to get up to speed on but I think having the internal audit experience you have would be a big benefit. Do you have your CIA, CPA, or CFE?

I've been asking around, and when I say industry, I mean Internal Audit as a whole. I'm hearing of these types of issues in insurance, banks, manufacturing, etc. It seems to be an IA problem.

I'm a CPA.

mozar

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2019, 10:01:22 PM »
For me it would be an easy pick. I would go where I know the team is awesome and they want me. What a gift!
I could be wrong but I think the meltdown is due to the industry becoming automated.  I was a federal auditor for ten years and it kept getting more dog eat dog over the years. That's what people do when they feel pressure to do more with diminishing resources.
It's not internal audit itself that's being automated. But as accounting becomes more automated, the less of a need there is for auditors. I would switch to team awesome and start researching a new career.
ETA if you must stay in audit consider the military. Very stable and always hiring
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 10:05:20 PM by mozar »

insufFIcientfunds

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2019, 07:46:16 AM »
For me it would be an easy pick. I would go where I know the team is awesome and they want me. What a gift!
I could be wrong but I think the meltdown is due to the industry becoming automated.  I was a federal auditor for ten years and it kept getting more dog eat dog over the years. That's what people do when they feel pressure to do more with diminishing resources.
It's not internal audit itself that's being automated. But as accounting becomes more automated, the less of a need there is for auditors. I would switch to team awesome and start researching a new career.
ETA if you must stay in audit consider the military. Very stable and always hiring

I did auditing for the military for five years and it was sole sucking. It's more process auditing than anything else. When fieldwork yielded no results, the feedback was to "look harder." Employees are graded on audit reports. No clean reports, only reports with negative findings. So I looked until I found something. The response from customers most of the time was "Come on man, are you serious?” My experience of "internal audit" was to perpetuate one’s own existence.

OP, if you are a good auditor and you were considering government (military specifically), you would make a great program manager. The skills are highly transferable.

If you have ever heard, said, or read "In God We Trust, All Others We Audit" please punch someone!











Sibley

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 08:00:09 AM »
Mozar, I think you're onto something there with the automation. It is a huge buzzword, and honestly, I don't see a ton actually happening. Data analytics are also a big deal. Most of my actual work is process/operational audits and SOX. Not a fan of SOX, partially because I think the external auditor is full of BS. That might just be this particular firm/team though.

I'm keeping that other team in the back pocket. I don't mind the work, just not my favorite and I didn't want to do it full time previously. It would potentially get me better exposure to the accounting/finance groups in that company, I'm not sure what they're like. Also a factor is that company just wiped out 2/3 of their c-suite, out of the blue with really flimsy or nonexistent reasons. So I might just hold off long enough to see what happens there. I've got lots of friends there at least.

To provide some context with the level of dysfunction where I'm at: there are 16 people here. Of the 16, I'm aware of 9 who are actively looking or seriously considering looking for a new job.

Sibley

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2019, 08:02:07 AM »
Re military - I wouldn't pass the health exams (asthma), and I'm sure as hell not doing basic training. I also really hate doing audits just for the sake of an audit. Send me where there's actually risk, and I will do an audit. Operational audits are fun, as long as there's a reason to do it.

insufFIcientfunds

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 08:44:33 AM »
Re military - I wouldn't pass the health exams (asthma), and I'm sure as hell not doing basic training. I also really hate doing audits just for the sake of an audit. Send me where there's actually risk, and I will do an audit. Operational audits are fun, as long as there's a reason to do it.

Military auditors are civilians. So no PT, testing, whatever. It's amazing health insurance and benefits!

Proud Foot

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 09:49:45 AM »
Have you looked at internal audit roles within other industries? There might be a few regulation and procedural things to get up to speed on but I think having the internal audit experience you have would be a big benefit. Do you have your CIA, CPA, or CFE?

I've been asking around, and when I say industry, I mean Internal Audit as a whole. I'm hearing of these types of issues in insurance, banks, manufacturing, etc. It seems to be an IA problem.

I'm a CPA.

That makes sense. I'm not super familiar with internal audit as we do not have an internal audit department where I work. 

NorCal

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 10:00:42 AM »
My career is on the finance/FP&A side of accounting.  I understand completely where you are coming from.  Finance and accounting is just a professions where people advance on technical qualifications instead of managerial capability.  Managerial capability is an afterthought at best.

Honestly, I don't think you'll find a big company where the managerial situation is much better.

I eventually ended up working for a small consulting firm (~15 people) doing financial systems implementations.  Is that something you have any interest in?  I've found it's a much better balance for me personally.  I have flexibility, I can work with interesting companies, but I don't get sucked into the crazy internal politics.

Another option would be finding a smaller company where you are the sole accounting person.  I've worked at these companies, and you can usually avoid some of the toxic behavior found in larger accounting organizations.  Of course (as I found out), non-accounting teams have the potential to be just as bad.  But they can be better too!


mozar

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2019, 10:13:43 AM »
I couldn't last 5 years in the military. I did one and "soul sucking " was an understatement.
"Trust, but verify" was the phrase every one would say.

I agree there is not much action on the audit side. I happened to do two 6 month stints in actual accounting and I could see how fast they were changing.
For example for my first job 12 years ago I audited ipacs (intragovernmental money transfer) . During the second accounting stint 10 years later my job was to help train the staff to fill in the ipac paperwork with specific codes. What they didn't say was that once it was filled the way management wanted it the algorithm would be able to read the paperwork. So there wouldn't be a need for a human to receive and interpret it. Once it was figured out how to auto populate they wouldn't need someone to fill it out either. Now there is no need to audit because people didn't do anything. You can have an IT audit to look at the code. That's a growing field.
Much of audit risk is due to human error. I was an omb a-123 specialist so I know a lot about risk.

BeanCounter

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2019, 10:16:22 AM »
I think Cannot Wait!'s post has some important points to developing happiness at work.
Not to be harsh, but if you're considering leaving two jobs in a row because of management issues you need to look within.
Maybe you don't like the politics and bullshit that is part of being in a large organization. (I understand this because I'm the same) Maybe look at a small company? There are downsides, pay and benefits are often not as good and there maybe very little opportunity.
Just remember that there is NO PERFECT JOB. They don't exist. You have to decide what you can tolerate and then let the rest go.

Sibley

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Re: Internal Auditor Needs Outside Perspectives on Career Path
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2019, 12:45:58 PM »
@BeanCounter   Which is also why I'm considering what else I could do than audit. And you're right, I can be hot headed and impatient - but other people who are NOT are seeing and saying the same things and their resumes are similar to mine. So I don't think it's all me.

@NorCal - you are 100% right. Management is a skill, and a very different one from the technical. The best audit managers I've known didn't come from audit, they were brought in for other reasons. I've gotten good enough to recognize the shortfall of my managers, and I don't think I could do better.