Top 10 Auditor Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most sought-after auditor certifications, including the requirements and benefits of each.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for an auditor in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and experience that employers look for. Certified auditors have the knowledge and skills necessary to complete audits accurately and efficiently, as well as the ability to identify potential issues before they become problems. Certified auditors also provide assurance to employers that their financial statements are reliable and accurate. Employers recognize certifications as a way to confirm that an auditor is qualified for the position and has the necessary skillset to perform audits correctly.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Auditors and explain how they can help to enhance an auditor's career.

What are Auditor Certifications?

Auditor certification is a process whereby an auditor has been officially recognized by a professional body or other organization as being qualified to conduct financial audits. This certification is often necessary for auditors to be considered credible by clients and other stakeholders in the business world. It helps ensure that auditors have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to properly evaluate the accuracy of financial statements and other records related to a company’s finances.

In addition to providing assurance that an auditor is competent, this certification can also help protect both the company being audited and its stakeholders from potential fraud or mismanagement. Specifically, it can help prevent inaccurate or incomplete financial statements from being presented to stakeholders without proper review. Additionally, auditor certification may provide more confidence among investors, customers, creditors, and other parties who rely on accurate financial information in order to make informed decisions about their investments and dealings with a company.

Finally, having certified auditors on staff can also provide valuable insight during times of organizational change or when preparing for an initial public offering (IPO). Certified auditors are able to identify areas of risk and suggest strategies for mitigating those risks before they become major issues. As such, auditor certification can be a key factor in helping companies achieve success in today’s competitive marketplace.

Pro Tip: When considering an auditor certification, make sure to research the credentials and experience of the individual or firm offering the certification. Ensure that they have a proven track record of success in auditing and that their methods are up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Related: What does an Auditor do?

Top 10 Auditor Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Auditors today.

1. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a professional certification offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). It is designed to recognize professionals who have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of information systems auditing, control, and security.

To become a CISA certified professional, an individual must pass an exam administered by ISACA. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover five domains: The Process of Auditing Information Systems; Governance and Management of IT; Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation; Information Systems Operations, Maintenance, and Support; Protection of Information Assets.

The exam takes approximately 4 hours to complete. In order to be eligible for the exam, candidates must meet certain criteria including having at least 5 years of cumulative paid work experience in one or more areas related to the CISA job practice areas.

The cost for the CISA exam varies depending on which country you are taking it in. In the United States, it costs $575 USD for ISACA members and $760 USD for non-members.

2. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). It is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the field of internal auditing. The CIA designation indicates that an individual has successfully completed a rigorous examination process, which includes passing a three-part exam, meeting experience requirements and completing an ethics review.

The CIA exam consists of three parts: Part 1 – Internal Audit Basics; Part 2 – Practice of Internal Auditing; and Part 3 – Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing. Each part must be passed separately before progressing to the next part. The exam is administered twice a year, in June and December.

To become certified as a CIA, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements such as having at least two years of internal audit experience or one year of internal audit experience plus one year in an accounting, finance or related field. Applicants must also provide proof of their educational background and pass the three-part exam with a score of at least 70%.

The cost for taking the CIA exam varies depending on where you take it and whether you are an IIA member or not. Generally speaking, non-members pay $895 per part while IIA members pay $595 per part. In addition to this fee, there may be additional costs associated with preparing for the exam such as study materials and practice exams.

3. Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)

Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The CGAP certification is designed to recognize those individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and proficiency in government auditing.

The CGAP certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of government auditing standards, principles, and practices. To earn the CGAP certification, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as financial statement audit, performance audit, internal control evaluation, fraud detection and investigation, legal compliance audit, information technology audit, ethics in government auditing, and more.

The CGAP exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete. The exam fee is $525 for members of the IIA or $725 for non-members. To apply for the CGAP certification, applicants must submit an online application form along with their resume and transcripts showing completion of at least 24 semester hours in accounting or auditing courses from an accredited college or university.

4. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional designation given to individuals who have met certain educational and experience requirements, passed a national exam, and are licensed by their state board of accountancy. CPAs provide financial advice, audit financial statements, prepare taxes, and consult on a wide range of financial matters.

To become a CPA you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field from an accredited college or university
  • Have at least 150 semester hours of college credit including 24 semester hours in accounting-related courses
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Meet any additional requirements set forth by your state board of accountancy

The amount of time it takes to become a CPA varies depending on how quickly you complete your education and pass the exam. Generally, it takes around three years to become a CPA if you already have an undergraduate degree in accounting or related field. If you don’t have an undergraduate degree in accounting or related field it can take up to five years to become a CPA.

The cost for becoming a CPA depends on several factors such as the number of courses taken and whether they are taken online or in person. The cost also includes registration fees for the exam which range from $150-$200 per section plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam such as travel expenses. In addition, there may be additional costs associated with obtaining licensure such as application fees and continuing education credits.

5. Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is a professional certification offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). It is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in detecting and preventing fraud. CFEs are trained to identify, investigate, and report on fraud cases in all types of organizations.

To become a CFE, you must meet certain criteria and pass the CFE Exam. The exam consists of four sections: Financial Transactions & Fraud Schemes, Law, Investigation and Reporting. To qualify for the exam, applicants must have at least two years of professional experience in the field of fraud examination or related area such as accounting, auditing or law enforcement; or have a bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of professional experience.

The CFE Exam takes approximately four hours to complete and is offered twice each year at testing centers around the world. The cost for the exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $400-$600 USD.

6. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a professional designation awarded by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA). The CGMA designation recognizes professionals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in financial management and business strategy. To become a CGMA, individuals must meet certain education, experience, and examination requirements.

It typically takes two to three years to complete the requirements for the CGMA designation. First, one must complete an accredited degree program in accounting or finance. This can be done at any accredited college or university. After completing the degree program, applicants must pass the CPA Exam administered by the AICPA. Once this exam is passed, applicants are eligible to take the Chartered Global Management Accountant Exam. This exam tests knowledge and skills related to financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting, strategic planning and analysis, risk management, decision making and performance measurement.

The cost of obtaining the CGMA designation varies depending on where you live and which educational institution you attend. Generally speaking, it will cost around $1,500 USD to become a CGMA once all fees associated with taking exams and completing courses are taken into account.

In addition to passing exams and completing courses, individuals seeking the CGMA designation must also demonstrate their commitment to ethical practice through continuing professional education (CPE) credits each year as well as adherence to a code of conduct established by AICPA’s Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC).

7. Certified Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)

Certified Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) is a professional certification program designed to help organizations improve their risk management processes. It is offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and it provides an in-depth understanding of the principles, practices, and tools used in risk management. The CRMA certification focuses on the development and implementation of effective risk management processes, as well as how to use those processes to identify potential risks and develop strategies for mitigating them.

The CRMA certification requires a minimum of two years of experience in risk management or internal audit. To obtain the CRMA certification, candidates must pass a three-hour examination that covers topics such as principles of risk management, risk assessment techniques, control systems, and communication strategies. Candidates must also demonstrate their knowledge through a series of case studies and simulations.

The cost of obtaining the CRMA certification varies depending on which exam prep materials you choose to purchase. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around $500-$700 for all necessary materials. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam itself.

In terms of time commitment, it typically takes about three months to study for the exam and prepare all necessary materials. However, this timeline can vary depending on your individual learning style and how much time you are able to dedicate to studying each week.

8. Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA)

Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) is a professional certification that demonstrates a high level of knowledge and expertise in financial services auditing. The CFSA credential is offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), an international professional association dedicated to enhancing the practice of internal auditing.

The CFSA exam consists of four parts: Financial Services Industry, Auditing Principles and Practices, Risk Management and Controls, and Professional Ethics. To become certified, you must pass all four parts within two years. The exam can be taken at any IIA-approved testing center or online.

The cost of the CFSA exam varies depending on the type of registration you select. For example, if you choose to take the exam online, it will cost $650 for members and $950 for non-members. If you choose to take the exam at an approved testing center, it will cost $750 for members and $1,050 for non-members.

In order to become certified as a CFSA, you must meet certain eligibility requirements including having three years of experience in financial services auditing or related fields; passing the four-part CFSA examination; and completing continuing education requirements every three years to maintain your certification status.

9. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals. The CFA Program is a globally recognized, graduate-level curriculum that covers topics such as ethical and professional standards, financial analysis and valuation, portfolio management, asset classes, and quantitative methods. It is designed to equip candidates with the necessary skills to become successful investment professionals in the finance industry.

The CFA Program consists of three levels of exams which must be taken sequentially. Each level typically takes between 6-12 months to complete depending on the individual's study habits. To become a CFA charterholder requires passing all three levels of exams and having four years of qualified work experience in the investment decision-making process.

To get started on the CFA Program you must register for each exam level separately with the CFA Institute. The cost for registration varies depending on when you register; early registration fees are lower than those registered closer to exam dates. Additionally, there are costs associated with purchasing study materials such as textbooks or online courses from third parties.

In total, it can cost anywhere from $1,000-$3,000 USD to become a CFA charterholder depending on what resources you use to prepare for each exam level and when you register for them.

10. Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA)

Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA) is a professional certification program offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The CCSA certification is designed to help internal auditors and other professionals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively assess and improve an organization’s internal control system. It provides a comprehensive overview of the principles, procedures, and techniques used to evaluate the effectiveness of an organization’s internal controls.

The CCSA certification process consists of three components: an online assessment, a written exam, and a practical application project. The online assessment is designed to assess the candidate's knowledge of control self-assessment principles and practices. The written exam covers topics such as risk management, internal control systems, audit planning, and reporting. Finally, the practical application project requires candidates to apply their knowledge of control self-assessment principles in a real-world setting.

The entire CCSA certification process typically takes about six months to complete. Candidates must first register for the IIA's online assessment before they can take the written exam or begin their practical application project. The cost for taking the online assessment is $150 USD; however, there are discounts available for members of certain organizations or those who have previously taken the IIA's Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam. The cost for taking the written exam is $250 USD; again, discounts may be available depending on your circumstances. Finally, there are no additional costs associated with completing the practical application project; however, it may require significant time commitment on behalf of both you and your organization.

Do You Really Need a Auditor Certificate?

The short answer to this question is no, you do not necessarily need an auditor certificate. However, having one can be beneficial and may even be required in certain situations. An auditor certificate is a document that certifies the accuracy of financial statements and other financial records. It is issued by an independent auditor who has reviewed the company's financial records and verified their accuracy.

An auditor's certificate is often used when a company wishes to apply for a loan or other financing. In this case, the lender will require an audit to ensure that the company's financial statements are accurate and up-to-date. The auditor will then issue an auditor certificate as evidence of their review of the company's financial information.

In addition to being used for loans and financing, many companies choose to have an audit conducted on a regular basis in order to maintain accurate records and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. This type of audit typically requires an independent third party to review the company’s books, accounts, internal controls, and procedures. If any discrepancies are found during this process, the third-party auditor will issue a report outlining these issues and make recommendations for improvement if necessary. Having an independent audit conducted also helps protect investors by providing assurance that the company’s financial statements are accurate.

While it may not always be necessary to have an auditor certificate, there are many benefits associated with having one issued by an independent third party. These benefits include providing assurance of accuracy in financial records, protecting investors from potential losses due to fraudulent activity or other errors, ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations, providing evidence of sound internal controls within the organization, improving investor confidence in the organization’s accounting practices, and helping build credibility with lenders or other potential financiers.

Related: Auditor Resume Examples

FAQs About Auditor Certifications

Q1. What is an auditor certification?

A1. An auditor certification is a formal recognition of an individual’s knowledge, skills, and experience in the field of audit and assurance services. It also indicates that the individual has met certain standards set by a professional auditing body or regulatory agency.

Q2. What are the different types of auditor certifications?

A2. The most common types of auditor certifications are Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Q3. How do I become certified as an auditor?

A3. To become certified as an auditor, you must typically meet certain educational requirements and pass a comprehensive exam administered by the appropriate professional body or regulatory agency. Additionally, you may need to have relevant work experience in order to be eligible for certification.

Q4. How long does it take to get certified as an auditor?

A4. The amount of time required to complete the necessary steps towards becoming certified as an auditor varies depending on the type of certification being sought and other factors such as prior education, work experience, etc. Generally speaking, it can take several months or longer to complete all requirements for certification.

Q5. Are there any continuing education requirements for maintaining my auditor certification?

A5. Yes, most professional bodies or regulatory agencies require that individuals who hold certifications participate in ongoing continuing education activities in order to maintain their certifications over time.