How to Become a Bank Auditor in 5 Steps

Bank auditors review a financial institution's records for completeness and accuracy. Find out about the education you'll need, and get information on professional certification for a career in this field. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Bank Auditor?

A bank auditor is an accounting specialist who evaluates the accuracy, completeness and legitimacy of a bank's financial records. They ensure banks comply with their own procedures and with state and federal finance laws. If and when they discover a security breach or other problems, auditors confer with bank managers and executives about possible fixes and process improvements. Additional duties include coordinating and supervising the activities of an accounting department staff and taking charge of developing, scheduling and executing an annual audit program.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree program in accounting helps you develop the necessary skills to work as a bank auditor. Accounting programs clarify the theory and practice of tracking an organization's finances. You learn to record transactions in a double entry format, derive figures for revenues, and draw conclusions about the organization's performance. Opportunities are also available to learn about the variations in the accounting systems used by different types of organizations, tax laws and auditing procedures.

Bachelor's degree programs in finance examine money management, in particular how time and risk affect money management decisions. You also learn about the budgeting, spending and saving decisions that affect individuals, businesses or the government. The program also teaches you how financial institutions, such as banks, make lending decisions. Econometrics, decision modeling, public finance, investing and insurance are also possible course topics.

Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree

A master's degree coupled with a bachelor's degree in accounting provides you with the sufficient academic credit hours necessary to become a certified public accountant (CPA) and improves your prospects for employment. Master's degree programs increase your knowledge of accounting practices and hone your analytical skills. Courses engage core subjects, such as managerial accounting, financial reporting, auditing processes and information systems. Some programs may offer an auditing track or electives that enable you to emphasize auditing. Master's degrees may be completed in 1-2 years.

Step 4: Find Employment as an Auditor

As a bank auditor, you could work directly for a bank, a CPA firm or be self-employed. Entry-level auditors usually work with a supervisor until they are ready, knowledgeable and competent to work as a bank auditor. Figures for bank auditors weren't available, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 1.3 million people worked as accountants and auditors in 2008 (www.bls.gov). Of these, 105,300 individuals worked in the finance and insurance industries. Employment is projected to increase nearly 12% to 117,300 by 2018.

Step 5: Obtain Certification

Becoming certified will improve your employment prospects. The field's most widely recognized credential is the Certified Bank Auditor certification offered by the Bank Administration Institute. To be eligible, you must have a bachelor's degree and two years of bank auditing experience, or a bachelor's degree and master's degree in accounting or business. The exam covers accounting, bank regulations and laws, auditing principles, auditing practices and general business.

You could also consider becoming a CPA. As of 2009, most states required candidates to have a bachelor's degree and 150 credit hours of college coursework. Earning both a bachelor's and master's degree would fulfill this requirement. Administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the main content areas covered in the CPA exam include auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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