Tell me about becoming CPA or CISA certed... 2192

  • … and how it could help a SOX auditor.
    I’m just wondering… I know they are out there but are they really helpful and worth it? Is studying for one or the other hard and time consuming… I want to hear it all, if you have any expertise/ knowledge on the subject.
    Why am I asking… you might wonder… well I want to grow; not really interested in climbing the corporate ladder, just interested in expanding my own mind… just not sure how I should approach it.
    Cheers… 😉

  • Hi 404 - While I don’t have these specific designations, I’m familiar with both and have also pursued a # of professional designations through the years. Yes, there is always value in continuing education , as one of my favorite related sayings is ’ what better investment can one make in their career '. In fact, that’s one reason I’m active in forums, as the user-to-user sharing is highly educational and practical.
    Below are a brief list of ideas:

    • A search of the Monster or Dice job recruitment sites, using CPA or CISA as keywords might show employer preferences.
    • Both are prestigious designations. The CPA is probably the most beneficial to expanding your career beyond audit if you wanted to pursue other career paths later (e.g., moving into financial or accounting areas).
    • The CISA is also highly respected, but might keep your career more contained within audit itself (although with your background, it might be easier to acquire).
    • Either of these credentials would enhance your knowledge, skills, and hopefully career at your current or future employer
    • As a practicing auditor, the concepts, terminology, and application to cases (which are asked on exams), are going to come a lot easier to you than someone without that background.
    • In pursuing either of these designations, you can fit this into your already busy schedule of meeting work, family, and other obligations.
    • Below are some study tips from a project management forum I participate in that might be helpful. I have about 10 designations, (mostly in the insurance and technology fields), and by working study time in at lunch, making audio tapes, and other techniques I learned extensively but yet didn’t feel it significantly impacted time spent with my family or work obligations.
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  • They differ in importance to people and to organizations.
    I never took the CISA, so I can’t speak to that, but this is what I can tell you about the CPA.
    It’s main importance is recognition of knowledge and stature. It’s importance is that you are legally qualified to render an opinion on financial statements. It’s widely known by even lay people. So indicating that you have the designation will lend importance to your opinion (and hopefully it’s justified 🙂 ).
    The CPA exam is difficult. I took it just after starting an IT Audit position. It wasn’t a requirement of the job. It was something I did to prove to myself that I had the knowledge and ability. It took me two attempts :roll: to pass. I conditioned everything but auditing :roll:. (Note: The CPA exam is tested from the ‘external’ audit perspective, more higher level and the controls are viewed slightly different.)
    I would suggest a review course. They are expensive and time consuming but they prepare you for the base of knowledge and the type of questions that are asked. (And some employers will pay for them.) 🙂

  • Thanks guys. It’s always good to hear others input.

  • Despite those comments, I do think CPA and CISA are helpful for meeting control environment and monitoring (COSO), as they qualify the knowledge of the company.
    So, if you are Sox compliant, your external auditor should require these certificates for evidencing your company ability and use your work to reduce their.

  • How about a CIA, is this a useful designation?

  • ^ Yes , the Certified Internal Auditor is also a prestigious designation for anyone in the audit profession. The requirements and eligibility can be found in the link below
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    The Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®) designation is the only globally accepted certification for internal auditors and remains the standard by which individuals demonstrate their competency and professionalism in the internal auditing field. Candidates leave the program enriched with educational experience, information, and business tools that can be applied immediately in any organization or business environment.

  • You goal should be to obtain one of the recognized certifications - CPA, CIA, CISA - not to become a SOX auditor. Our external audit firm - KPMG - does not use any ‘sox auditors’ on our account. In fact, I don’t even know if there are official ‘sox audit’ positions within any of the Big 4 accounting firms. They use their normal CPAs to perform both the financial and controls audit work. The demand for CPAs is pretty great right now. Most states have educational and work requirements in addition to passing the CPA exam before you can become a CPA. You should check with your local CPA society (
    to see what the requirements are for your state.

  • In my country, PwC uses the Advisory Group to audit sox. I believe auditors have different skills for substantive and controls test.

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