Internal Auditor vs. Public Accountant - Accounting Student Needing Help



Hi Everyone,

I am hoping get some kind of help with internal auditors. I am an accounting student for Golden Gate University and I need to ask some questions for CPAs and Internal Auditors to find out the difference between the two types of occupations. If at all possible, help is appreciated. I just need short replies to my questions below and also a business card for my professor. Thank you!!!

Interview Questions

Internal Auditor

1. What previous experiences and education prepared you to be an internal auditor?
2. What is one case of fraud you found and what process did you follow to detect the fraud?
3. What would you do if a company may be exposed to a major risk and what would you do as part of the risk management procedure to prevent it?
4. What are some risk management procedures you implemented that was successful?
5. Did you ever have problem persuading a company to incorporate your recommendations?
6. What would you do if a company refuses to implement your change?
7. What would you do if a company asks you to be unethical during your investigation?
8. Have you had to conduct interview examinations on company employees? If yes, how was the interview conducted?
9. How do you think internal auditing can add value to a company?
10. What made you interested in joining the internal auditing field and what do you enjoy most about your work?

Public Accountant

1. In your opinion, what do you think is the difference between a public certified accountant and an internal auditor?
2. What type of attestation engagement have you done in the course of your work?
3. Have you been hired to perform an assurance service to which you are unable to express an opinion that satisfies your client?
4. What kinds of nonfinancial assurance services had you performed?
5. Was there any companies you examined and found their internal control over financial reporting lacking? What did you do?
6. What audits have you performed during your career?
7. Of the PCAOB assertions (Existence, Obligation, Completeness, Valuation and Disclosure), what assertion was the most difficult for your work?
8. Do you always practice professional skepticism?
9. Do you worry at times that you are lending your credibility without enough knowledge?
10. Have you been or considered being an internal auditor?


Trusted Information Resource
You won't get much here. Most of the internal auditing here is regarding quality management. Not really the same as corporate tax auditors.


Super Moderator
Internal Auditor is not an occupation, it's a job assignment and as pointed out you're trying to compare an apple to a chicken, because as used in this Forum Internal Auditors are doing audits within "Management Systems" and normally the financial stuff is so far outside the scope of their work that it's not even a concern.


Involved In Discussions
I am the only person I know who has a degree in accounting (undergrad) and a masters in QA, so I am sort of qualified to answer some. In accounting we audit to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principals), and in quality we generally audit to one (or more) of the quality system standards (usually an ISO standard but not always). The basics of auditing are the same, and, believe it or not, while wearing my quality hat I actually audit one of our departments every quarter, an audit triggered by concerns of our accountants. As with financial accounting, finding fraud would happen either when the fraudster makes a mistake or plain dumb luck. As with financial auditing, the procedures and standards are there for very good reasons, so ensuring compliance is a good idea, and the payback is hard to quantify. How do you put a value on problems you do not have? In quality auditing there are usually two types of findings: non-conformances and opportunities for improvement (these may be called something else). A non-conformance must be addressed, but an OFI can be responded to or not. As far as risk management goes, that is emphasized in the new standard, so the systems being put into place now are, for the most part, in their infancy as far as documentation goes.

I hope this helps, and you have the best of luck in your educational endeavors.

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Trusted Information Resource
My opinion is that there isn't much difference between them.

The only difference is that you are auditing to a different set of procedures maybe standards. The processes are closely related. You still have regulatory agencies, customers, and such. The auditing technique should not vary between the two. As for choosing which you think is the better, that choice is up to you.

Just my :2cents:
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