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DISCUSSIONS > IIA GENERAL DISCUSSION AREA [ REFRESH ]
Thread Title: Disinterested in CPA...
Created On Friday February 05, 2010 1:28 AM
  Disinterested in CPA...
  Disinterested in CPA...
  Disinterested in CPA...
  Disinterested in CPA...
  Disinterested in CPA...


khough1


Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2008

Friday February 05, 2010 1:28 AM

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Hi Everyone,

I've posed this question before but perhaps a few things have changed for me. And so I would like to ask it again.

I completed a post-MBA graduate certificate in Auditing this past fall. It consisted of four graduate level course: Audit & Assurance I & II, Information Systems Auditing, and Internal Auditing. I have undergraduate accounting and auditing coursework. Aside from not having completed one tax course and 4 semester hours in business, I can sit for the CPA exam in Illinois.

I put my Cert. Government Auditing Professional exam and CIA exam studies aside to finish classes so I'd be eligible to sit for the CPA exam. I am taking an online tax class through a community college. I have a bachelor's in Political Science and a Master's in Public Services Management (MBA for the Public Sector).

To be honest, I want to drop the online tax class. It is too difficult to take online, and my interest is in CGAP and CIA as I work in the nonprofit/gov't sector. I see me passing the CPA exam a ways down the road whereas the CGAP and CIA are more attainable as that is where my interest lies.

Tight economy aside, does anyone think I could be hired by a firm that specializes in this type of audit work? I would consider the CPA exam in the future of course. Does anyone else have a great audit job with a firm without the CPA credential?

-------------------------
Kristin

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kyyee


Posts: 746
Joined: Oct 2002

Friday February 05, 2010 2:19 PM

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Let me preface my opinion with that my thoughts are designation are only letters to prove that you spent some time doing something. Obviously, there is value in getting designations, but its not the end all be all and the true measure of one's effectiveness and ability to do a job always lies with the individual's capacities and initiative.

With that said, my opinion for your situation would be to finish off the CPA especially since you seem to be pretty close. Sadly, I believe not a lot of hiring individuals will agree with my thoughts above, so if you finish off your CPA, it should help get you past the screening criteria that some hiring managers blindly follow. Even if you are looking for an IA job, I feel that it is more preferable to look at someone with a CPA intending to get a CIA, vs someone with a CGAP/CIA intending to get a CPA. Plus, who knows... you may very well come across a job that requires a CPA and is not even in IA that you are interested in.

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Mark R. Simmons


Posts: 133
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Monday February 08, 2010 4:59 PM

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khough1, you really have to ask yourself where you see your career going. If you see yourself ten years from now still working in the nonprofit/government sector in a true internal audit capacity, then I would say that while the CPA credential doesn't hurt, it's not a "must have"; whereas the CIA supplemented by the CGAP, CFE, or CISA would be extremely beneficial.

I'm assuming you're not interested in the public accounting profession or the outsourced "internal audit" services provided by public accounting firms. That said, there are also any number of audit related positions in government where the CPA/CFE would be more desirable, such as a position with the GAO, the FBI, IRS, Inspectors General, (or Auditors General in state government) etc. where you would function in a role similar to that of an external auditor/evaluator/investigator rather than in the role of an internal auditor.

In the private sector, and sometimes in local government, you might find that the people doing the hiring do not always understand the differences between the internal audit profession, the public accounting profession, the appropriate role/purpose of each, or the philosophy of the internal audit profession defined in the IPPF. Back in the day, I had more than one conversation with then IIA president Bill Bishop, chiding him for allowing the IIA journal to print job announcements in the "Careers" section that stated "CPA" as a requirement without ever mentioning "CIA". You will still find organizations that list the CPA as a requirement for IA position candidates.

I guess where this leads is that having the CPA will likely provide a wider range of job opportunities should you at some point down the road, either through desire or necessity, decide to change career focus.

I believe that any organization seeking qualified professionals to staff an internal audit department should look first to certified internal auditors as the most desirable candidates for anything other than entry level positions. For entry level positions, in the past I have given preference to strong candidates holding a CPA, CISA, or CFE and a few years' experience who were willing to embrace the philosophy and focus of internal auditing as represented by the IPPF; but they needed to prove during the probation period that they had the aptitude to become effective internal auditors. I'm sure others might disagree, which is ok - it's just my personal preference.

I'm not sure any of this has eased your decision-making process, but I hope my perspective helps.







Edited: Monday February 08, 2010 at 5:04 PM by Mark R. Simmons

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LV707


Posts: 85
Joined: Dec 2007

Tuesday February 09, 2010 6:05 PM

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I completely agree with kyyee and Mark when he says: "I guess where this leads is that having the CPA will likely provide a wider range of job opportunities should you at some point down the road, either through desire or necessity, decide to change career focus."

As someone who has been in the job search mode for a long period a couple of times, I can say I have never seen a job where a CIA was required or was the only desirable designation, whereas CPA often is. Having said that, if working for the CPA really turns you off and you are excited about the others, I would look at the risk of tossing the CPA aside at this time. Ask around in the area where you will be looking. Ask people in hiring positions how individuals' designations would affect their decisions. Especially, see if you can ask that question in the firms where you would seek work.

Government seems to me to be more flexible in allowing applicants to substitute experience for education or education for designations. As to businesses, they are often so narrow, I doubt they see the forests for the trees. It is such a buyers market now, they can be picky, picky, picky, or as one headhunter described it, they're placing Neiman Marcus orders now. As an aside, one thing I would recommend is getting SAP, Oracle, or other ERP training/experience.



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LV707 says Hi Y'all

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Hasslee


Posts: 8
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Thursday February 11, 2010 11:23 AM

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I agree that CPA holders have a wider opportunities but it doesn't necessarily mean that it is a "must to have one". Though it is highly recommendable, I personally believe that you can have a great audit job. Why? Because the scope of internal auditing within an organization is BROAD and may involve topics such as the efficacy of operations, the reliability of financial reporting, deterring and investigating fraud, safeguarding assets, and compliance with laws and regulations. You have a wide range of choices of what type of auditor you will be. Therefore, follow your interest and if your interest is with CIA / Government Auditing Exam then go on. My teacher once told us that your passion/interest with hardwork will lead you to success.

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DISCUSSIONS > IIA GENERAL DISCUSSION AREA [ REFRESH ]
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