Internal Audit

What is Internal Auditing?

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) defines an Internal Auditor as someone who “helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic and disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance process.” Internal Auditing is an independent, objective consulting task that adds value to an organization’s operations. Overall, they make a company more efficient and more profitable.

When supported by well-organized data and skilled auditors, internal auditing can bring specific advantages to an organization. 

  • Enhance decision-making: Internal audits can define specific problems and give decision-makers data to help inform their strategies and assess solutions.  
  • Improve operations and efficiency: Internal audits can identify operational problems and inefficiencies. Because audits look at specific areas in-depth, they provide insights into the source of the issue. After the company makes changes, they can run another internal audit to see if the new practices and procedures have delivered the desired results. 
  • Define and mitigate risks: Internal audits can look at the consequences of potential events and the odds that such an event will take place. Once decision-makers are aware of the risk, they can take steps to mitigate it, lower the odds of it taking place, and reduce the potential consequences. 
  • Ensure compliance and success in external audits: Internal audits can mimic the process of external audits and find issues with reporting or compliance. By finding these problems and making corrections, a company can avoid potential penalties or punishments. 

Learning to understand the “WHYs” and exploring career prospects

“You’ve got to look at the incentives!” - My professor Adam Vitalis always stresses. 

Well, my incentive to join the Internal Audit Course (AFM 415) in the Fall of 2022 was to explore internal audit since I had no previous audit or related working experiences. The course is offered in the fall term and is available for any third or fourth-year students, including students with no prior experience in internal audit, like me. I wanted to take an elective course that interests me and where I can learn and take away valuable lessons from.

Two people looking at financial statements

The journey to a career in internal audit

On a bright sunny day at the TD Centre in Toronto, professor Adam Vitalis interviewed four SAF alums about their careers in the internal audit field. Internal audit is a critical component of effective corporate governance and risk management and plays an important role in helping organizations achieve their objectives while safeguarding their assets and reputation.

Exploring and learning about internal audit in a new course

If you have ever been unsure of what course to take, then you aren’t alone! At first, I was unsure about what courses to enroll in, but I decided to go for the Internal Audit course (SAF 415), as I had no prior knowledge of the subject, and I wanted to learn about audit from a new perspective.

Internal Audit Education and Knowledge Transfer

Information about Internal Audit

Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. The importance of internal audit lies in its ability to help an organization achieve its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of its governance, risk management, and internal control processes. Through its reviews and assessments, internal audit can help an organization identify and manage risks, improve operational efficiency, and ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

Internal and external audits differ in scope – that is, external audits focus on whether the financial statements are presented fairly. Internal audits can focus on anything related to evaluating an organization's operations, processes, and systems to identify areas of risk, inefficiency, and potential improvement.

In addition, internal audits can help management by providing insights and recommendations to improve organizational performance, strengthen accountability, and enhance stakeholder confidence. By working collaboratively with management, internal audit can also help to promote a culture of continuous improvement and best practices.

Overall, internal audit is a critical component of effective corporate governance and risk management and plays an important role in helping organizations achieve their objectives while safeguarding their assets and reputation.

Helpful links:

Internal Audit: What It Is, Different Types, and the 5 Cs (investopedia.com)

4 Reasons to Follow the Internal Audit Career Path | Robert Half

Internal Auditor (IA): Definition, Process, and Example (investopedia.com)

What is the difference between external and internal audit roles?

Internal vs. External Auditing: What’s the Difference? | Caseware

Internal Audit

External Audit

Company employees

Work for an outside audit firm

Hired by companies

Appointed by shareholder vote

Do not have to be CPAs

CPA directed

Accountable to management

Accountable to shareholders

not compulsory by nature but can be conducted to review the operational activities of the organization.

obligatory

Continuous process

Once a year

Checks operational efficiency

Checks accuracy and validity of financial statement

Information for students

Co-op initiative

Internal Audit Talent Development Program

The initiative highlights internal audit as a career possibility.  The School of Accounting and Finance provides courses that support internal audit knowledge and is also actively seeking out Co-op job opportunities in that area.  The initiative is drawing together the employers how have roles in internal audit and bringing those jobs to light by using some similar language to describe the work so that it is clear that the jobs involve internal audit rather than describing the role as risk advisory.  Internal audit can have a number of different titles and this can make it harder for a student to know that they are in Internal Audit when they take on a Co-op job.

Internal audit is a growing career path for both Co-op employment and full-time work.  The School is pleased to prepare professionals of the future for this line of work.

This role is being posted as part of the SAF/IIA Talent Development Program. This role will expose students to people and work related to internal audit, risk management, and control. This role will qualify toward the practical experience requirements for the Certified Internal Audit (CIA) designation. It is intended for students in undergraduate co-op programs at the School of Accounting and Finance who plan on pursuing undergraduate study in internal audit, risk management and controls, performance management, and the Master of Accounting (MAcc) programThis role is being posted as part of the SAF/IIA Talent Development Program.

Co-op opportunities

Sample Co-op Job Opportunities in Internal Auditing

  1. Internal Auditor and Evaluator – Government

About - During their co-op term, students will have the unique chance to actively participate in Internal Audit and/or Evaluation engagements, gaining invaluable hands-on experience. Their involvement will encompass a wide range of activities, which may include but are not limited to: collecting, analyzing, and assessing relevant information and data to accomplish specified objectives; assisting in the development of data collection tools, conducting interviews, and compiling comprehensive notes; aiding in the drafting of memos, reports, and offering insightful perspectives on findings; and making valuable contributions to the review of draft documents and Branch products. This co-op opportunity will provide students with a platform to enhance their knowledge and expertise in the field of internal audit and/or program evaluation, equipping them with valuable skills for their future careers.

Job Requirements - Education qualifications for candidates applying for the position include undergraduate or graduate degree programs in various areas of study, such as Accounting, Finance, Business Administration/Public Administration, Commerce, Economics, Sociology, or Psychology. Although not limited to these fields, they provide a solid foundation for the role. Candidates with relevant experience are preferred, particularly in analyzing qualitative and/or quantitative data, using tools like Excel or statistical analysis software, and writing reports or analyses. The desired competencies for the position include strong communication skills, the ability to work effectively in teams, analytical aptitude, and adherence to values and ethics. Applicants must be registered as full-time post-secondary students in an accredited academic institution recognized in Canada. Priority consideration will be given to those enrolled in an accredited co-op/internship program, offering a valuable opportunity for practical learning and development.

  1. Internal Auditor – Bank

About - As a member of the centralized TOPR team within Internal Audit, your role will involve providing general support and contributing to various tasks. These tasks may include assisting with Audit Committee reporting by providing insightful commentary and creating impactful visualizations to enhance reporting effectiveness. You will also be responsible for conducting research on industry trends and emerging topics, utilizing the findings to enhance reporting capabilities. Additionally, there will be an opportunity for you to receive training as a Scrum Master, supporting the Agile approach within the team. Acting as a liaison on complex initiatives across the department will be part of your responsibilities, where you will collaborate with multiple stakeholders to drive efficiency improvements. Working within Internal Audit offers a unique work environment where you can gain insights into the inner workings of all lines of business across RBC. If you have a strong interest in understanding how things operate, enjoy delving deep into data to uncover new insights, and possess the ability to make recommendations and drive valuable insights, this role is ideal for you.

List of Example current term positions

            Banks

            Insurance Companies

            Public Corporations

            Government

            Public Accounting Firms -  large and medium size

IA Course

AFM 452 Internal Audit (listed as AFM 415 in 2022)

This course builds on your prior experiences to move past the “how” and onto the “why” related to internal audit. While the focus of this course is to help explore concepts necessary to be a successful internal auditor, the knowledge and skills you will learn are broadly transferable to any assurance setting. 

We discuss the fundamentals of internal audit, then build on these concepts to focus on engaging the material at a higher level of understanding. For each topic, we start with a grounding in textbook material to ensure a consistent starting point. From there, we expand on topics by including experts in the profession who will bring their unique perspectives on effectively applying the knowledge in a real-world setting. The presenter list includes professionals from KPMG, LCBO, Manulife, TBS, Richter, Yamana Gold Inc., and more. Here is a link to the Fall 2023 presenters:

The overarching goal of this course is for you to walk away with a deeper understanding of how to participate in an internal audit engagement (and assurance engagements generally). This is not to say that you will walk out of the course ready to manage engagements, but you should gain the ability to accelerate your integration of knowledge and experience in your career. 

This course also aligns with the internal audit co-op initiative; many presenters are hiring internal audit co-ops. This course will be offered in the Fall term. The course is open to any student in the third or fourth year. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Adam Vitalis at: avitalis@uwaterloo.ca

Reference Material

Student testimonials:

Course Description

AFM 452 LEC,TST,TUT 0.50

Course ID: 016474

Internal Audit

This course will cover internal audit from a broad perspective across an organization's business, including governance, risk management, information technology, business processes, and related risks. The goal is to provide students with a fundamental knowledge and a sense of skills necessary to succeed in an entry-level internal audit position. The course is also geared to providing a foundation for students to prepare for taking the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam.

Prereq: Level at least 3A Accounting and Financial Management, Biotechnology/Charters Professional Accountancy, Computing and Financial Management, Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy, or Sustainability and Financial Management Students.

Information for employers

Initiative background

University of Waterloo School of Accounting and Finance – Internal Audit Talent Development Program 

In response to feedback from large enterprises, government, and financial industry employers, the IIA Toronto Chapter, in partnership with the University of Waterloo School of Accounting and Finance (SAF), is in the process of organizing a formal experiential education program specifically geared toward internal audit (IA). The IA Talent Development Program leverages the SAF’s outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs in Accounting and Finance, as well as Waterloo’s industry-leading co-operative education program. We are seeking to collaborate with employers to help shape the design of this program and curate co-operative work opportunities so that we can develop the next generation of IA professionals.    

Goals of the Program 

  • Bring together the supply of motivated students with the demand for IA professionals  
  • Formalize an IA focused university co-operative program that positions new graduates for an IA career 
  • Create a pipeline of qualified professionals specific to the IA profession who are equipped with Undergraduate and Masters degrees that positions students to complete the CIA certification 
  • Potential to expand the program to other Universities across Canada 

Benefits to Your Organization 

  • Create an ongoing pipeline for recruiting IA talent  
  • Potential to hire experienced entry level IA professionals, upon graduation 
  • Cost effective way to obtain IA talent, with no long term commitment 
  • Potential to reduce overall recruiting, training and retention costs for IA talent 
  • Obtain employees trained in the latest data analytics and audit techniques 
  • Opportunity to provide direct feedback to the SAF-IA educators as they shape the program to produce graduates with the necessary skills for work in your sector and the IA profession  

Your Organization’s Role 

  • Participation in the University of Waterloo co-op program and a soft commitment to hire co-op students in support of the program (initial program placement goal is 50 – 60 co-op roles per year) 
  • Post full-time IA opportunities to graduating students that have followed an IA academic pathway  

How it Works 

  • Employers will partner with the School of Accounting and Finance and Co-operative Education at the University of Waterloo to develop a recruitment strategy, post co-op roles to students, and participate in the co-op recruitment process 
  • Jobs made available under this program will be posted to students with a descriptor attached to the co-op job title: IA Talent Development Program. For example, a job title may be “Internal Audit Analyst - IA Talent Development Program”. 
  • Job descriptions will include the following Special Message: This role is being posted as part of the SAF/IIA Talent Development Program. This role will expose students to people and work related to internal audit, risk management, and control.  This role will qualify toward the practical experience requirements for the Certified Internal Audit (CIA) designation. It is intended for students in undergraduate co-op programs at the School of Accounting and Finance who plan on pursuing undergraduate study in internal audit, risk management and controls, performance management, and the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program. 

Co-op initiative

The initiative highlights internal audit as a career possibility.  The School of Accounting and Finance provides courses that support internal audit knowledge and is also actively seeking out Co-op job opportunities in that area.  The initiative is drawing together the employers how have roles in internal audit and bringing those jobs to light by using some similar language to describe the work so that it is clear that the jobs involve internal audit rather than describing the role as risk advisory.  Internal audit can have a number of different titles and this can make it harder for a student to know that they are in Internal Audit when they take on a Co-op job.

Internal audit is a growing career path for both Co-op employment and full-time work.  The School is pleased to prepare professionals of the future for this line of work.

This role is being posted as part of the SAF/IIA Talent Development Program. This role will expose students to people and work related to internal audit, risk management, and control. This role will qualify toward the practical experience requirements for the Certified Internal Audit (CIA) designation. It is intended for students in undergraduate co-op programs at the School of Accounting and Finance who plan on pursuing undergraduate study in internal audit, risk management and controls, performance management, and the Master of Accounting (MAcc) programThis role is being posted as part of the SAF/IIA Talent Development Program.

For additional information please contact:

IIA Contacts:

Brent Kenny - brent.kenny@bmo.com

Dennis Dai - dennis.dai@mnp.ca

University of Waterloo School of Accounting and Finance - IA Contacts:

Adam Vitalis - avitalis@uwaterloo.ca

Lynn Graham - l2graham@uwaterloo.ca

SAF Program and Student Information

Classes students take each year.

Accounting and Financial Management

Sustainability and Financial Management

Computing and Financial Management

Biotechnology CPA

Mathematics CPA

Work/Study Sequence                               

Term

Work Term 1

Work Term 2

Work Term 3

Work Term 4

Work Term 5

Work Term 6

Fall – September thru December

AFM, Math/CPA, SFM (2B)

AFM, Math/CPA, Biotech/CPA SFM, (3B)

CFM (2B)

 

CFM (4A)

Winter – January thru April

AFM, Math/CPA, Biotech/CPA, SFM (2A)

AFM, Math/CPA, Biotech/CPA, SFM (3A)

CFM (2A)

AFM, Math/CPA, SFM (3B)

AFM, Math/CPA, SFM (4A)

CFM (3B)

 

Spring – May thru August

CFM (1B)

 

AFM, Math/CPA, Biotech/CPA, SFM (4A)

CFM (3A)

Information on the IA course

AFM 452 Internal Audit (listed as AFM 415 in 2022)

This course builds on your prior experiences to move past the “how” and onto the “why” related to internal audit. While the focus of this course is to help explore concepts necessary to be a successful internal auditor, the knowledge and skills you will learn are broadly transferable to any assurance setting. 

We discuss the fundamentals of internal audit, then build on these concepts to focus on engaging the material at a higher level of understanding. For each topic, we start with a grounding in textbook material to ensure a consistent starting point. From there, we expand on topics by including experts in the profession who will bring their unique perspectives on effectively applying the knowledge in a real-world setting. The presenter list includes professionals from KPMG, LCBO, Manulife, TBS, Richter, Yamana Gold Inc., and more. Here is a link to the Fall 2023 presenters:

The overarching goal of this course is for you to walk away with a deeper understanding of how to participate in an internal audit engagement (and assurance engagements generally). This is not to say that you will walk out of the course ready to manage engagements, but you should gain the ability to accelerate your integration of knowledge and experience in your career. 

This course also aligns with the internal audit co-op initiative; many presenters are hiring internal audit co-ops. This course will be offered in the Fall term. The course is open to any student in the third or fourth year. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Adam Vitalis at: avitalis@uwaterloo.ca

Reference Material

Student testimonials:

Course Description

AFM 452 LEC,TST,TUT 0.50

Course ID: 016474

Internal Audit

This course will cover internal audit from a broad perspective across an organization's business, including governance, risk management, information technology, business processes, and related risks. The goal is to provide students with a fundamental knowledge and a sense of skills necessary to succeed in an entry-level internal audit position. The course is also geared to providing a foundation for students to prepare for taking the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam.

Prereq: Level at least 3A Accounting and Financial Management, Biotechnology/Charters Professional Accountancy, Computing and Financial Management, Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy, or Sustainability and Financial Management Students.

Internal Audit Interaction

Information for alumni

Under construction

Internal Audit Research

Current Research

Current Research

Internal Audit Competencies Objective: This survey of Canadian practitioners from CPA, IIA and ISACA
Research Team: Adam Vitalis,  Efrim Boritz and Laura Simeoni
Pulse Objective: Produce a Canadian extract from this international survey.
Research Team: Adam Vitalis, Efrim Boritz and Laura Simeoni
On Risk

Objective: Produce a Canadian extract from this international survey.
Research Team: Adam Vitalis, Laura Simeon and Efrim Boritz

Planning has started

Questions and Suggestions

Please connect with Adam Vitalis and Lynn Graham for suggestions, edits, and questions.