Why would you want to become a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)? It requires years of hard work experience and an intimidating certification exam. However, the benefits and opportunities are definitely worth the sacrifices CIA candidates make in order to achieve this prestigious title. If you don’t believe me, check out these top 10 reasons why you should become a CIA.

1. You Are Part of a Global Organization for the Internal Auditor Profession

The Institute of Internal Auditors is a respected organization with over 180,000 members in over 190 countries. You do not technically need to be a CIA to obtain the IIA’s certification, but the majority of the members are CIAs. By joining this community, you will have abundant networking opportunities, a terrific character reference, and access to all the latest updates in your niche.

Other accounting or management certifications are restricted to America or state jurisdictions, such as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Financial Risk Managers (FRMs). However, IIA certification allows you to have a global voice in the worlds of internal auditing and financial management since it doesn’t diminish in value when moving from country to country.

Global domination is within your reach.

2. You Gain Credibility and Respect

When working in the world of audit and compliance, you will run into many non-certified internal auditors who clearly do not have the expertise of a CIA. This designations separates you from the general profession and proves to others that you are a top-dog internal auditor.

So, if anyone ever doubts your abilities and qualifications, you get to pull out your card that has the three letters, CIA, following your name. That will definitely shut them up and immediately give you the credibility you deserve.

3. Higher Salary

If you read through the IIA’s Internal Audit Compensation Study, you will find that the median salary of an internal auditor with a CIA license earns as much as 40% higher than peers without the credential. Consequently, the internal audit practice can become very lucrative to these individuals in comparison to other career paths and certs. Furthermore, professionals with this certification and sufficient internal auditing experience will almost immediately be promoted or receive salary increases.

Also, pay is continuing to go up, according to the latest Salary Guide from Robert Half. CIAs with a year of experience can make anywhere between $55,250 to $68,750. With more years of experience or managerial tasks, that number can go up to a range of $96,750 to $156,500. Check out Salary Center to see what salaries you could be looking at in your city.

4. Relatively Flexible Eligibility Requirements

Unlike the notorious CPA exam, the IIA accepts everyone as long as he or she has a bachelor’s degree from any field. This lack of severe education requirements means you don’t need a master’s degree in accounting or have to meet an annoying 150 credit requirement. Additionally, the requirements for continuing professional education (CPE) is also quite reasonable.

The CIA designation even has an alternative path in which you can have an associate degree or even no degree. Check out the see if you meet the relatively simple CIA exam requirements.

5. Easier Than Other Accounting Certification Exams

Compared to Goliath undertakings like passing the CPA or CFA, the CIA exam is much easier to take on in terms of how much time it takes certification candidates to prepare and pass. Furthermore, you’ll also have much more flexibility in the certification process regarding experience requirements, since your supervisors do not need to hold the CIA certification. Not to mention, the CIA exam is much cheaper.

The CPA exam has four parts that cover a wide range of topics from business law to audit. On the other hand, the CIA exam is made up of three parts that mainly focus on internal audit. The CIA exam’s total duration is 6.5 hours, while the CPA exam’s is 14 hours.

6. CIAs Are in Demand

”Now is the best time to go for your CIA designation.”

Organizations are placing more and more emphasis on compliance, which means employers need the best internal auditors. Many companies are even pushing for their internal auditors to go for their respective certifications.

There has also been a projected growth of 11% for the auditing and accounting profession from 2014-2024. That’s pretty darn fast compared to other occupations, making now the best time to go for that CIA designation.

7. Boost Your Resume

Like I said before, those three letters at the end of your name on a resume will let everyone know you’re a pro. Employers will see you stand out from the pile of other resumes since you possess expert knowledge of internal audit knowledge elements.

Companies are just now realizing how important the internal audit function is to the mitigation of risk and prevention of fraud. With the dramatic increase in internal auditing jobs, your premier designation demonstrates to employers that you have the extensive knowledge, experience, and study that it takes to fill the position for which you are reaching.

8. You Are Up-Close and Personal with the Corporate World

CIAs have an in-depth understanding of organizations since they are usually partnered with management when evaluating potential fraud risks. Consequently, a CIA will be able to provide invaluable operational knowledge and industry insight. This means frequent exposure to the board and an opportunity to be in the corporate spotlight.

9. It Sounds Like You Work for the CIA

Okay, yes, this perk isn’t as serious as the other perks. But it is seriously cool to say you work as a CIA. You’re instantly a badass who is affiliated with spies and top secret missions. Not a bad association to have!

You might not be defusing bombs seconds before they explode, but you will definitely be helping organizations avoid disaster with your skill in risk management. So in some ways, you are a spy in the auditing world, helping your company from financial threats.

10. It’s the Coolest Profession out There

Tom Peters, author of the best-seller In Search of Excellence, gave a speech at the IIA’s International Conference where he began by saying internal auditing “has got to be the coolest profession in the world.”

Many scoff at that statement, thinking about how that could even be possible. Well, for Certified Internal Auditors, there is virtually nothing they can’t dive into. They can and should touch all aspects of a business in order to help an organization. CIAs add value and protect companies from fatal fraud and business risks.

It’s a job with an importance that can’t be matched. Every day as a CIA, you will be intellectually stimulated and deal with a diverse and interesting set of challenges. Fair to say, this is definitely one of the coolest jobs out there and what Mr. Peters said isn’t hyperbole!