Certification Corner - The Institute Of Internal Auditors  


Third Quarter 2012
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CIA Spotlight: Julie Lathrop 

Julie LathropJulie Lathrop, CIA, CPA
Senior Manager, Advisory Services
Ernst & Young

1. What prompted you to become a CIA?

I made a career change to internal audit after many years as a controller. I immediately pursued my CIA, completing it within my first year in internal audit. The CIA designation helped me to quickly understand the standards and skills required of the profession and how to translate my finance background into audit experience. It also helped me to establish credibility with my clients and peers.

2. Did your organization fund your exam fees or preparation materials? If yes, was it the corporate culture or did you have to sell the value of certification?

My firm reimburses for a preparation course and examination fees once you have obtained certification. Several of my mentors in the firm are also CIAs and encouraged me to pursue the designation.

3. How many of your colleagues are certified?

My firm requires a designated professional certification for all professionals at a manager level or above. The majority of professionals in my practice are either CPAs, CIAs, or CISAs.

4. How does having the CIA set you apart from your non-certified peers?

Having the CIA designation allows me to be closely aligned with my client base – the chief audit executive. I understand strategically and operationally what the CAE must to do to fulfill the internal audit mandate for his/her organization.

5. How did you prepare for the exam?

I was working full time while preparing for my exam. I used the Gleim self-study materials to prepare for the exam. I found the example tests and detailed diagnostics very informative to focus my studies in the right areas, so I was able to pass the exam sections at the first sitting.

6. How has being a CIA helped your career?

The CIA has helped me establish myself as an advisor to senior management on risk and internal control issues.

7. What advice do you have for others who are seeking certification?

Obtaining a CIA early in your career is an excellent foundation as you gain experience as an audit professional and business advisor.

8. What other certifications do you hold and how have they helped you in your career?

I am also a California CPA. So I have an understanding of both internal audit and external/financial audit standards and requirements. The CPA and CIA are complementary designations. I can readily address concerns of management in its dealing with the external audit firm and as well as serve as advisor to the business, giving operations assistance on operational efficiency as well as effectiveness.

Julie Lathrop, CIA, CPA, has more than 15 years of experience in internal audit and related fields. She currently serves as senior manager, Advisory Services, with Ernst & Young, specializing in serving national and multinational clients in the healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and not-for-profit sectors to evaluate and enhance their risk and compliance functions. Julie is a subject matter resource for internal audit quality assessments, having completed reviews of several Fortune 100 global organizations. In addition, Julie serves on the Professional Certifications Board of The IIA, and previously served as a board member of The IIA’s Orange County (Calif.) chapter. She frequently presents on governance, risk, and compliance topics for The IIA and other organizations.