Are you ready to land your dream job and score that handsome salary you’ve always wanted? In the UK, a seasoned Internal Auditor can expect to earn around £45,000 per year, while our friends in the US can anticipate a yearly wage of about $70,000. Not too shabby, right?
But before you can start planning how you’re going to spend that salary, there’s one key obstacle to tackle: the job interview. It’s the gatekeeper to your career dreams, and knowing how to answer those tricky questions can make the difference between landing the job and going back to the drawing board.
In this article, we’ll cover the MOST common Internal Auditor interview questions (and sample answers!). So get comfy, grab your favourite beverage, and let’s dig into these questions together. With the right preparation, you’ll be signing that new job contract before you know it!
Looking for More Questions / Answers…?
Then, let me introduce you to a fantastic resource: “Interview Success: How To Answer Internal Auditor Questions”. Penned by the experienced career coach, Mike Jacobsen, this guide is packed full of interview tips. This 105-page guide is packed with over 100 sample answers to the most common and challenging interview questions. It goes beyond simply giving you answers – it guides you on how to structure your responses, what interviewers are seeking, and even things to avoid during interviews. Best of all, it’s available for instant download! Dive in and give yourself the competitive edge you deserve.
Internal Auditor Interview Tips
📚 Know Your Field 📚
Internal Auditing isn’t just about numbers and ledgers; it’s a dynamic field that requires a strong understanding of business practices, regulatory compliance, and risk management. Stay updated with industry trends and latest auditing techniques to showcase your commitment and understanding of the field.
📈 Understand the Company 📈
Research is key. Understand the industry in which the company operates, their products or services, and their market standing. Get a grip on their challenges and how internal auditing fits into their strategy. This not only demonstrates your interest in the company but also allows you to tailor your responses to suit their specific context.
💼 Know the Job Description 💼
The job description is your cheat sheet. Know it inside out. Understand the skills and experiences the company is looking for in their ideal candidate. Align your answers to show how your profile matches these requirements.
🗣️ Practice Your Answers 🗣️
While every interview is different, there are common questions that pop up. Prepare and practice your answers to these questions. Make sure your responses are clear, concise, and, most importantly, relevant to the role you’re applying for.
📝 Use the B-STAR Method (see below) 📝
When answering competency-based questions, use the B-STAR method – Belief, Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It helps you structure your answers and effectively showcase your skills and experiences.
👂 Listen Carefully 👂
Active listening is crucial during an interview. Ensure you understand the question before responding. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
🤝 Build a Connection 🤝
An interview is not just about answering questions. It’s an opportunity to build a connection with the interviewer. Be professional, but also be yourself. Show enthusiasm for the role and the company, and don’t forget to smile!
📋 Have Questions Ready 📋
Towards the end of the interview, you’ll usually be given an opportunity to ask questions. This is your chance to show your interest and enthusiasm for the role. Prepare thoughtful questions that reflect your understanding of the company and the role.
How Best To Structure Internal Auditor Interview Questions
When preparing for your internal auditor job interview, it’s crucial to understand how to structure your responses effectively. Interviews can be challenging, especially when it comes to expressing your thoughts and experiences clearly. That’s why we’re here with a modified version of the traditional STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique, the B-STAR method, which has an additional element – Belief.
B – Belief
The initial part of your response should focus on your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings concerning the subject matter. Let’s say the interviewer asks, “Can you describe a time when you identified a major financial discrepancy?” You could start with, “I firmly believe in maintaining the highest standards of financial integrity…”
S – Situation
Next, you need to set the context by briefly explaining the scenario that was taking place. For example, “At my previous role at XYZ Corp, during the annual internal audit, I came across inconsistencies in our accounts payable reports…”
T – Task
The task is about your specific role in the situation. It’s generally better if you were actively involved. Continuing from the example above, “As the lead internal auditor, it was my responsibility to investigate the issue and rectify it…”
A – Activity (or Action)
Here, you’ll delve into the actions you took, why you took them, and the process you followed. “I initiated a thorough review of all transactions, cross-checked invoices and payments, and discovered that a vendor had been overpaid due to a data entry error…”
R – Results
Finally, talk about the outcomes. Try to quantify the results, if possible. “As a result of my diligence, we managed to recover $20,000 in overpayments, improving our fiscal accuracy and leading to tighter data entry procedures…”
By using the B-STAR method, you can present a comprehensive, well-structured response that will impress any interviewer. Remember, the key is to practice this technique with common internal auditor interview questions so that you’re prepared when the big day arrives.
What You Should Not Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action.
Internal Auditor Interview Question & Answers
“Can you describe your experience with risk management?”See answer 1 below. To see all 5 sample answers click here
Responding to “Can you describe your experience with risk management?” involves outlining your professional history with identifying, analyzing, and responding to potential risks. Your response should demonstrate your ability to mitigate risks and ensure compliance with established policies and regulations, and how this experience makes you a valuable asset for the internal auditor role.
Definitely, risk management has been an integral part of my roles in the past. As an internal auditor, my main goal is not only to find irregularities or issues after they occur but to proactively identify potential risks and mitigate them effectively.
My first significant experience with risk management was when I was working as an Audit Associate at XYZ Corporation. I was part of a team that was tasked with conducting an operational audit of the manufacturing division. During this process, we identified a potential risk concerning workplace safety protocols. We discovered that several procedures weren’t being adhered to strictly, which could have led to severe safety incidents and potential regulatory non-compliance.
As a member of the audit team, I was closely involved in both identifying this risk and formulating a strategy to mitigate it. We worked with the operations team and safety officers, helping them understand the gravity of the issue and implementing an action plan to rectify the lapse. In the following audit, we found a marked improvement in adherence to safety protocols, reflecting the effectiveness of our risk mitigation strategy.
At my subsequent role at ABC Company as a Senior Internal Auditor, I spearheaded a project to implement a risk-based auditing approach. We integrated risk assessments into our audit planning process, which significantly enhanced our ability to focus on high-risk areas and improve the efficiency of our audits. This also led to earlier detection of potential issues and facilitated timely remedial actions.
Moreover, I’ve worked closely with the risk management department in my current role at DEF Group, giving me a broader perspective on organizational risk management strategies. I’ve participated in the formulation of the company’s risk appetite and tolerance levels, and played a key role in aligning the internal audit activities accordingly.
On a personal note, I believe effective risk management requires constant learning and adapting, as the business environment and associated risks are always evolving. I regularly participate in professional development programs and industry seminars to stay updated on risk management best practices and emerging risks in the industry.
In summary, my experience with risk management spans across identifying potential risks, formulating mitigation strategies, implementing risk-based auditing, and participating in organizational risk management planning. I am confident that this comprehensive experience would prove beneficial in the role of an internal auditor.
“What are some methods you use to evaluate the effectiveness of internal controls?”See answer 1 below. To see all 5 sample answers click here
When you’re asked “What are some methods you use to evaluate the effectiveness of internal controls?” you’re expected to illustrate your analytical skills and understanding of internal control systems. Discuss the techniques you use to assess the reliability and efficiency of internal control systems, and how these methods have improved the operations of past employers.
Certainly, evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls is a crucial aspect of the internal auditing function. Over the years, I’ve employed various methods to evaluate internal controls, with a focus on understanding how well they’re designed, how efficiently they’re operating, and whether they’re achieving their intended objectives.
Firstly, I use risk-based assessments. This involves identifying key business risks and assessing how effectively the existing controls mitigate these risks. By focusing on high-risk areas, we can prioritize our audit efforts and ensure that crucial controls are functioning effectively.
Secondly, I conduct walkthroughs of the control processes. This involves tracing transactions from initiation through to completion. The aim is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the controls in place, identify any gaps or weaknesses, and evaluate whether controls are functioning as designed. A real-life example of this would be when I was auditing the procurement process at XYZ Corporation. By conducting a detailed walkthrough, we identified a weakness in the approval process for purchase orders, which we were then able to address promptly.
Thirdly, I use testing as a method to evaluate controls. This could be either through sampling, where a subset of transactions is reviewed, or comprehensive testing, where all transactions in a given period are tested. This method is particularly useful in evaluating the operational effectiveness of controls.
Finally, I also find it useful to leverage data analytics in evaluating controls. By analyzing transaction data, we can identify unusual trends or patterns that could signal control failures. For example, in my current role at ABC Company, we used data analytics to identify irregularities in expense claims, which led us to detect a case of expense fraud.
In summary, my approach to evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls is a combination of risk-based assessments, walkthroughs, testing, and data analytics. These methods provide a comprehensive evaluation of both the design and operational effectiveness of controls, and they ensure that the controls are aligned with the company’s risk profile.
“What interests you about internal auditing?”See answer 1 below. To see all 5 sample answers click here
The question “What interests you about internal auditing?” is your chance to express your passion for the profession. Highlight the aspects of internal auditing that you find particularly fulfilling or challenging, and how these interests align with your career goals and the responsibilities of the role.
Internal auditing, to me, is a fascinating field that combines technical skills with a deep understanding of business operations. The part that I find most intriguing is its unique position within an organization. As internal auditors, we have the opportunity to understand the organization’s functions and processes from a holistic perspective. We’re not just confined to one aspect of the business; instead, we get to see the bigger picture, and this, I believe, is a learning experience unlike any other.
One specific element that I find particularly interesting is the problem-solving aspect of internal auditing. Every audit is essentially a problem-solving mission. We identify issues, investigate their causes, and then recommend improvements. This requires a combination of analytical thinking, creativity, and business acumen. It’s rewarding to see how our recommendations can help improve operations, reduce risks, or enhance compliance. For instance, in my previous role at XYZ Corporation, my team and I identified a weakness in the procurement process that, once resolved, led to significant cost savings for the company.
I’m also intrigued by the continuous evolution of the field. With the rise of digital technologies, the scope and methodology of internal auditing have evolved dramatically. Today, we’re not just auditing financial transactions; we’re also auditing IT systems, data security, and even corporate culture. For example, at my last job at ABC Company, I was part of an audit team that focused on IT and cybersecurity audits, which was both challenging and enlightening.
Moreover, I appreciate the value that internal auditing brings to an organization. Through our work, we help enhance governance, risk management, and control processes. It’s fulfilling to know that our work directly contributes to the organization’s success and stability.
So, in summary, the breadth of exposure, the problem-solving aspect, the continuous evolution of the field, and the value it brings to the organization are what make internal auditing deeply interesting to me.
“Could you explain a time when you identified a financial discrepancy and how you resolved it?”See answer 1 below. To see all 5 sample answers click here
The question “Could you explain a time when you identified a financial discrepancy and how you resolved it?” tests your practical experience in resolving financial irregularities. Discuss the strategies you employed to detect the discrepancy, your problem-solving process, and how your actions benefited your previous employer.
Certainly, I have faced several instances where I identified financial discrepancies during audits, but one that stands out was during my tenure at XYZ Ltd, a manufacturing company.
While conducting a routine audit of the accounts payable process, I noticed a significant increase in the expenses related to one of our suppliers. This was unusual as the volume of our orders had remained fairly consistent. On further investigation, I found several invoices that seemed identical but were booked multiple times. It appeared to be a case of duplicate invoicing, and it was slipping through due to a lack of controls in the invoice approval and payment process.
To resolve this, I first brought the matter to the attention of the Finance Manager, and together we held a meeting with the accounts payable team to discuss the issue. We realized that the team had been bypassing the standard process for invoice approval due to time constraints and the high volume of invoices. To tackle this, we decided to reinforce the importance of adhering to the standard process, and we also introduced a rule that any deviation from the standard process would require approval from a higher level.
Next, we decided to strengthen the internal controls in the process. We introduced a new step in the process where every invoice would be matched with its corresponding purchase order and delivery receipt before approval. This would ensure that every invoice booked is valid and unique.
We also introduced a periodic reconciliation process where the total invoices booked would be matched with the payments made to the supplier. Any discrepancy in this would be a red flag and would require investigation.
Once these changes were implemented, we saw a significant reduction in duplicate invoicing errors. Not only did this result in cost savings, but it also enhanced the reliability of our financial reporting.Overall, this experience emphasized to me the importance of robust internal controls in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of financial transactions. It also taught me that continuous monitoring and a healthy level of professional skepticism are crucial in detecting and resolving financial discrepancies
“What is your approach to conducting internal audits?”See answer 1 below. To see all 5 sample answers click here
When asked “What is your approach to conducting internal audits?” focus on explaining your methodology for planning, executing, and concluding audits. Detail your approach to gathering data, assessing risk, and testing internal control systems, along with how this approach aligns with industry best practices.
When conducting internal audits, my approach is both systematic and flexible, allowing me to adapt to the unique circumstances and risks associated with each audit. It’s rooted in the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing established by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), but tailored to fit the specific business I’m auditing.
In the planning phase, I start with understanding the business area or process under review. This involves meeting with the process owners and other stakeholders to understand the business objectives, the underlying processes, and the associated risks. I also review the relevant policies, procedures, previous audit reports, and regulatory requirements. This broad understanding is essential in identifying the key risks and controls and for devising an audit program that is both effective and efficient.
Next, during the fieldwork phase, my focus is on gathering relevant evidence through various techniques like interviews, observation, document review, and testing. For example, in my recent role at a manufacturing company, when auditing the procurement process, I not only examined the procurement documents and tested transactions for compliance with the company policies but also spent time on the shop floor observing the receipt of goods.
A key part of this phase is the ongoing communication with the auditee. By keeping them informed about the audit progress and preliminary findings, I’ve found that they are more receptive to the observations and recommendations.
Once I’ve completed the fieldwork, I spend time analyzing the findings, prioritizing them based on their impact and likelihood. This is followed by a closing meeting with the auditee where I present my findings and discuss the potential remediation steps.
The final stage is to prepare the audit report, which I ensure is clear, concise, and provides value to the management. I clearly state the observations, their impact, and the recommended actions. But I don’t stop there. I believe an auditor’s job includes following up on the agreed actions to ensure they are implemented, helping the organization improve its operations and control environment.
In summary, my approach is thorough, risk-based, and collaborative, aiming not just to find issues but to help the business address them, ultimately supporting the achievement of organizational objectives.
“What experience do you have with audit software and technologies?”See answer 1 below. To see all 5 sample answers click here
Answering “What experience do you have with audit software and technologies?” involves explaining your technical proficiency and your experience with specific audit tools. Discuss how you have utilized these tools in past roles to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of your audits.
I have extensive experience with various audit software and technologies, which I believe have been crucial in enhancing my efficiency and effectiveness as an Internal Auditor. In my previous roles, I have been directly involved in using and managing a range of audit tools to improve our audit processes.
One of the primary tools I have used is IDEA, an advanced data analysis software. This tool was vital during my time at XYZ Corp, where I was responsible for auditing complex datasets to identify irregularities. I would use IDEA’s robust analytical features to systematically review large volumes of transactional data, which led to the detection of several instances of potential fraud that might have gone unnoticed with manual inspection.
In addition to IDEA, I have also worked with ACL, which is another powerful tool for data analysis and risk management. At XYZ Corp, I used ACL for continuous monitoring of financial transactions. This proactive approach allowed us to identify potential compliance issues early and take corrective actions before they could escalate.
I have also used software like TeamMate for audit management. This was particularly useful in streamlining the entire audit process, from planning to reporting. At ABC Ltd, we used TeamMate to coordinate audit tasks, track progress, and generate insightful reports. This tool played a significant role in enhancing our team’s productivity and the overall quality of our audits.
Lastly, I have always prioritized staying updated with new technologies in the auditing field. I regularly participate in professional training and webinars to keep abreast of the latest audit software and technologies. For instance, I am currently learning about the application of AI and machine learning in auditing, as I believe these technologies have the potential to revolutionize our industry.
In summary, I believe that audit software and technologies are essential tools for modern Internal Auditors, and I have invested significant time and effort in mastering these tools to improve my audit performance.