Becoming an Auditor with a Political Science Degree

Auditing Career Overview

An auditor holds a special position in the field of accounting. They look at the recordkeeping and books of an organization searching for errors, fraud, or waste. The auditor may be an internal employee of an organization, or an external auditor called in to scrutinize an organization’s books. It is the auditor’s job to offer an unbiased assessment of all financial records.

Over the years, due to several high profile incidences of fraud, and mishandling of money, the need for auditors has grown. The public cry demands an ever-growing oversight of how companies and organizations handle their money, especially when public funds are involved.

Specializations and Places of Work

auditor Employment as an auditor is available in many organizations. Larger ones, such as Fannie Mae, Verizon, and Panera, all offer positions for internal auditors. An internal auditor will work within the company, performing the same duties as an external auditor.

Government jobs for auditors are also available, as are large Certified Public Accountant firms who hire auditors for their client base. A company’s accounting firm handles many audits. Auditing jobs are found wherever there is a need for certifying that records are being kept properly. Even places such as environmental agencies, retail organizations and the hospitality industry use auditors to audit their books.

Roles and Duties as Auditors

Auditors have a legal position that entails significant responsibility. After 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act increased the workload and responsibility of auditors to ensure their assessments were true and accurate.  This is especially true in companies that are publicly traded due to the many accountings of past abuse. The main roles of an auditor include monitoring financial statements and record keeping, and reporting on their findings to the key stakeholders.

Auditor Education and Training

An auditor needs to have a unique ability to see both the details and the overall picture of a given situation. As such, auditor training will teach a student to comb through records looking for minor discrepancies as well as seeing larger areas of fraud, misuse, or waste.

To become an auditor, a student will first need a degree in accounting. It is here they will learn all the nuances of financial law, tax law, and recordkeeping practices. The degree will likely specialize in auditing. This means coursework will move past the day-to-day process of accounting, focusing instead on the methods required to perform an audit. If an auditor seeks to become a Certified Public Accountant, they will also need to take and pass a state exam.

There are other degrees that are possible including political science and business. Much of the education focus will be driven by the career choice. If a student desires a job in the government, for instance, a political science degree with coursework in accounting and auditing may be more applicable.

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Salary Information and Job Outlook

What is the job outlook for auditors? Exceptional and growing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As more demand for accounting of funds becomes the norm, auditors will likely grow with the demand. The BLS combines auditors and accountants in their growth projections, as many auditors are also accountants. The projected growth percentage is at least twenty-two percent over the next seven years.

What about the salary of an auditor? The yearly income for a corporate internal auditor, depending on education and experience, is $74,000 as reported by indeed.com. The salary level will change as an employee remains and grows in experience and reputation. According to CNN Money, a senior level internal auditor salary, for example, is about $106,000 a year.

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