Interview

22 Internal Auditor Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an internal auditor, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Internal auditors are the financial police of a company. They review financial statements, investigate irregularities, and recommend changes to improve internal controls. They also advise management on how to prevent and detect fraud.

Internal auditor interview questions will probe your knowledge of financial statement analysis, auditing standards and procedures, and internal control concepts. You will also be asked about your experience in accounting and in investigating financial irregularities.

To ace your interview and land the job, review the following internal auditor interview questions and answers.

Common Internal Auditor Interview Questions

What made you interested in pursuing a career in internal auditing?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are passionate about this career. You can answer honestly by sharing what inspired you to become an internal auditor, including any experiences that led you down this path.

Example: “I became interested in pursuing a career in internal auditing after I worked as an intern for my current employer. During my internship, I was able to see how much work goes into ensuring the company is following all of its policies and procedures. This experience made me realize that I wanted to be part of something like this full-time, so I decided to pursue a degree in accounting and pursue a career in internal auditing.”

What do you think sets internal auditing apart from other types of accounting and financial careers?

This question helps employers understand your knowledge of the internal auditing field and how you view it. Internal auditors have a unique role in an organization, so it’s important to show that you understand what makes this career path special. In your answer, explain why you chose this career and what you enjoy about it.

Example: “I think one of the most interesting things about being an internal auditor is getting to see all aspects of a company. As an external auditor, I only get to look at financial records, but as an internal auditor, I also get to meet with employees and managers to learn more about their roles and responsibilities. This gives me a better understanding of how everything works together.”

What do you think is the most important skill for an effective internal auditor?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a strong understanding of what it takes to be an effective internal auditor. Internal auditors need to possess many skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving and communication. When answering this question, make sure to highlight one or two key skills that are important for an internal auditor.

Example: “I think the most important skill for an effective internal auditor is communication. Internal auditors need to be able to communicate effectively with all levels of employees within their organization. I also believe that critical thinking is another essential skill because internal auditors need to be able to analyze situations and determine whether there are any issues that need to be addressed.”

Can you share a time when you had to solve a difficult problem during an audit?

Internal auditors often have to solve problems that arise during an audit. Employers ask this question to learn more about your problem-solving skills and how you handle challenging situations. In your answer, share a specific example of when you had to solve a problem during an audit. Explain what steps you took to solve the issue.

Example: “At my previous job, I was conducting an annual compliance audit for one of our clients. During the process, I noticed some discrepancies in their financial records. After discussing it with my manager, we decided to investigate further. We found out that the client’s bookkeeper had been embezzling money from them for years. The company fired the bookkeeper and hired new accountants to fix the situation.”

Tell me about a time when you had to give critical feedback to management or another stakeholder.

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle conflict and your ability to give feedback. Use examples from your experience where you had to provide critical feedback, such as a time when you found an error in the company’s financial records or discovered a process that wasn’t working properly.

Example: “In my previous role, I noticed that our department was spending more money than we should have on office supplies. After investigating, I realized that one of our employees was ordering unnecessary items for their own personal use. When I presented this information to management, they were able to take action and remove the employee from the position.”

How do you stay up-to-date on changes in auditing standards and regulations?

Internal auditors must be knowledgeable about the latest standards and regulations in their field. Employers ask this question to make sure you have a plan for keeping your skills up-to-date. In your answer, explain how you stay informed on changes in the industry. Share any resources or methods that you use to learn more about internal auditing.

Example: “I am passionate about my career as an auditor, so I always try to keep up with new developments in the field. I subscribe to several newsletters from professional organizations like the Institute of Internal Auditors. These newsletters provide valuable information about the latest trends in the industry. I also attend conferences and webinars hosted by these organizations. Attending these events is a great way to learn about the newest techniques and technologies.”

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing businesses today when it comes to compliance and risk management?

Internal auditors are often tasked with identifying and addressing the biggest challenges facing their organizations. This question allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of compliance issues, as well as how you might approach them.

Example: “The biggest challenge I see is that many businesses don’t have a formalized risk management process in place. Without this, it’s difficult for companies to know what risks they’re exposed to or how to mitigate those risks. Internal auditors can help develop these processes by performing audits and evaluating the results. We can then use our findings to create policies and procedures that will reduce business risk.”

Do you have any experience working with computer systems or auditing software?

Internal auditors often use computer systems and software to complete their work. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary skills to do your job well. In your answer, let them know about any experience you have with these tools. If you don’t have much experience, explain what steps you would take to learn how to use them.

Example: “I have some experience working with computer systems and auditing software. I worked as an internal auditor for a small company that didn’t have many resources. To get around this, we used free online auditing software. I learned how to use it to perform my audits. I also had to learn how to navigate through the company’s computer system to access important information.”

Tell me about a time when you identified potential improvements to an organization’s accounting or financial procedures.

Internal auditors often have the opportunity to make recommendations for improvements to their organization’s accounting or financial procedures. This question helps employers understand your problem-solving skills and how you might apply them in this role. Use examples from previous experience where you helped implement changes that improved an organization’s processes, systems or controls.

Example: “In my last position as an internal auditor, I noticed a discrepancy between our inventory records and our physical inventory. After investigating further, I discovered that one of our employees was taking items without permission. We implemented new security measures to prevent future incidents like this. As a result, we saved thousands of dollars by preventing theft.”

Can you share a time when you had to give a presentation on your findings?

Internal auditors often have to present their findings and recommendations to senior management. This question helps the interviewer understand how you feel about public speaking and whether or not you’ve had experience doing so in the past. Your answer should include a specific example of when you gave a presentation, what your role was and what the outcome was.

Example: “At my previous company, I presented my findings on an internal fraud case to the board of directors. The CEO asked me to lead the investigation because he knew I would be thorough and objective. After two months of investigating, I found that one of our employees was embezzling money from the company. The board was impressed with my work and decided to terminate the employee.”

Do you have any experience reviewing financial statements for compliance with regulations?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with internal auditing. If you have previous experience, share what type of financial statements you reviewed and how often you performed this task. If you don’t have any experience reviewing financial statements for compliance, you can explain that you’ve completed other types of audits in the past.

Example: “In my last role as an internal auditor, I reviewed financial statements quarterly to ensure they complied with regulations. I also monitored company expenses to make sure they were within budget limits set by management.”

Are you comfortable working independently?

Internal auditors often work independently, so employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable with that. They want to know that you can complete your tasks without much supervision and that you’ll be able to meet deadlines on time. In your answer, explain that you are a self-starter who is motivated by the challenge of working alone. Explain that you have experience working independently in previous roles.

Example: “I am very comfortable working independently. I actually prefer it because I find it motivating to see how quickly I can get my work done. In my last role, I was tasked with completing an audit every month. I found that I could do them within two weeks, which allowed me to spend more time on other projects.”

How would you go about investigating a potential case of fraud?

Internal auditors often have to investigate cases of fraud. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to do so effectively and efficiently. In your answer, explain the steps you would take when investigating a case of fraud. Make sure to include specific examples from previous experiences if you have them.

Example: “I would first look at the evidence I found during my initial audit. If there were any red flags or inconsistencies in the company’s financial records, I would follow up on those immediately. Next, I would speak with the person who was responsible for that area of the business. I would want to find out why they made the decisions they did and whether they noticed anything suspicious.

If I still had questions after speaking with them, I would then contact their superiors to get more information about the situation. After gathering all the facts, I would decide whether to report the issue to management or law enforcement.”

Tell me about a time when you had to present complex financial information to non-financial managers.

This question can help the interviewer understand your communication skills and how you present information to non-financial managers. Use examples from previous work experiences or describe a time when you had to explain financial information to someone who wasn’t familiar with it.

Example: “At my current company, I have presented complex financial information to non-financial managers on several occasions. For example, I recently helped one of our marketing directors create a budget for their department. While they were very knowledgeable about their specific field, they didn’t know much about creating a budget. I explained the process in simple terms so that they could understand what was expected of them.”

Tell us about a time when you identified a problem in your organization’s accounting procedures.

Internal auditors often have to identify problems in their organization’s accounting procedures. This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you can be proactive and take initiative when it comes to identifying issues within a company’s financial records.

Example: “When I first started working as an internal auditor, I noticed that our department was spending more money than usual on office supplies. After looking into this further, I discovered that one of my coworkers had been ordering unnecessary items from the office supply store. I brought this issue up with my supervisor, who then addressed the problem with the employee.”

Describe the process you use to develop an audit plan.

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your organizational skills and ability to plan ahead. Use examples from previous projects to describe how you developed a strategy for the audit, including what steps you took to ensure it was successful.

Example: “I begin by researching the company’s financial records and identifying any areas that need improvement or additional attention. I then create an internal control checklist to help me identify potential risks within the organization. After reviewing the list of controls, I determine which ones are most important to address first. Finally, I develop a timeline for when I will complete each step of the audit process.”

What are your thoughts on the future of the profession and where do you see yourself fitting into that future?

The interviewer may ask this question to gauge your interest in the internal audit field and how you see yourself growing within it. This is also a great opportunity for you to show that you have an active role in developing your career path.

Example: “I am very passionate about my work as an internal auditor, and I believe there are many exciting opportunities ahead of us. As technology continues to advance, I think we will be able to streamline our processes even more and provide even better service to our clients. I would love to continue working with my team to develop new ways to improve efficiency and reduce risk.”

Are you familiar with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or any other similar government regulations?

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a federal law that requires internal auditors to be independent and free from any conflicts of interest. This question helps the interviewer determine whether you have experience working with government regulations in your previous roles. If you haven’t worked with these types of regulations before, consider asking for clarification on what they entail so you can do some research before your interview.

Example: “I am familiar with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act but I’ve never had to work with it directly. In my last role as an internal auditor, we were required to remain independent and avoid any conflicts of interest. We also needed to report any violations or concerns to our superiors immediately.”

How do you deal with stress when working on tight deadlines or under pressure?

Internal auditors often work under tight deadlines and pressure to meet the expectations of their employers. Employers ask this question to make sure you have strategies for dealing with stress in the workplace. In your answer, share two or three ways that you manage stress when working on a project. Make sure these methods are professional and do not include anything illegal.

Example: “I find that exercising is one of the best ways to relieve stress. I usually try to go for a run or lift weights at least once per day. Another way I deal with stress is by talking to someone about my feelings. I find that writing down my thoughts and sharing them with someone else helps me process what I am feeling. These two things help me stay focused and productive while working on projects.”

Do you have any experience working with external auditors? If so, how do you find the process of collaborating with them?

The interviewer may ask this question to understand your experience working with auditors from other companies. This can be an important skill for internal auditors because they often need to collaborate with external auditors when their company is undergoing a financial audit. Your answer should show that you are comfortable working with outside auditors and that you have the necessary skills to do so effectively.

Example: “I’ve worked with several external auditors in my previous positions, and I find it helpful to work with them because they bring new perspectives to our audits. However, I also enjoy collaborating with my team members on internal audits because we all have different strengths and experiences that we can use to solve problems together.”

What do you think is the most rewarding part of being an internal auditor?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you are passionate about this career. Internal auditors often enjoy their work because they get to use their analytical skills and problem-solving abilities to help a company improve its processes and procedures. You can answer this question by describing what you find most rewarding about being an internal auditor.

Example: “The most rewarding part of my job as an internal auditor has been helping companies implement new policies and procedures that make them more efficient and profitable. I love seeing how our recommendations have helped businesses save money or increase revenue, which makes me feel like I am making a difference in the world.”

Do you have any questions for us about the job or the company?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you’ve done some research on their company and are genuinely interested in working for them. It’s also a chance to learn more about the position, so make sure you have at least one or two questions prepared.

Example: “I noticed that this company has an internal audit committee. I’m curious how that process works and what role the internal auditor plays in it. Also, I was wondering if there were any opportunities for advancement within the internal auditing department.”

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