01 April 2013
Over the last several months, the accounting and finance recruiting professionals at The Execu|Search Group have been observing a strong uptick in demand for Internal Auditors. With a variety of factors contributing to the increase in demand, including new compliance laws and increased regulation from the SEC, the Federal Reserve, and other governmental agencies, as well as the fallout and implications from the financial collapses of various corporations and big businesses, these elements have all created heightened awareness about controls, procedures, transparency, and self-governance amongst those we work with. In addition to seeing a 38% increase year over year in demand for internal audit professionals, we are seeing corresponding salary growth as well, with increases ranging between 12% – 21% for director, manager, and senior-level roles. “We’re seeing that c-level executives have put a mandate on their chief auditors to beef up their staff with a stronger pool of talent,” states Alan McGinn, Senior Managing Director of Accounting/Finance. “Governmental regulation agencies want to prevent another JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, and MF Global, while companies don’t want to become the next example or inspiration behind a new piece of regulation.” This surge in demand has created ample opportunities for professionals who may not have considered working within the Internal Audit space before. McGinn explains, “In the past, internal auditing may not have been a particularly attractive career path for most accounting professionals. However, today, as compliance through transparency and self-governance has become an integral part of the business model; the role of an Internal Auditor has become highly revered and integral to a company’s financial and legal health.” As the demand for these professionals steadily rises, the supply of internal audit professionals does not match the same trend. To simply put it, there just isn’t enough talent to go around. As a result, McGinn encourages accountants with different specialties to view internal audit as a great career alternative. He explains, “What accounting professionals who haven’t considered internal audit need to know is that these vacant positions are actually highly regarded openings that will present those who fill them with many opportunities for career advancement. In sum, these new business and regulation initiatives make it an exciting time to work in Internal Auditing because these roles have become highly visible, respected, and compensated.” Public accountants from the Big 4 firms with experience in the financial service industry are excellent examples of candidates that firms are looking for. Additionally, because internal audit is becoming a crucial aspect of a firm’s operational efficiency, hiring managers are also very interested in Big 4 public accountants with different backgrounds and areas of specialization because they believe an accountant’s training and experience at a Big 4 make them especially qualified to manage internal audit procedures. Most companies ranging from small firms to large corporations are in need of internal auditors. However, the majority of internal audit opportunities, especially the positions that offer compliance training, will probably be found at mid-level firms. A recent survey found that 43% of companies with annual revenues of $100 million or less believe their company needs to increase their internal control efforts, while a little less than 3 quarters of them offer compliance training on the job.