Certified Internal Auditor Basics

Certified Internal Auditor Basics
CIA Requirements   |   Structure of the Exam   |   CIA Exam vs. CPA and CMA Exam

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam is a three-part series of tests administered by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IAA) to evaluate a candidate’s demonstrated knowledge of current internal auditing practices as well as internal audit issues, risks and remedies.

CIA Requirements

To be eligible for CIA certification, candidates must have earned the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or post-secondary institution. If you do not hold a degree, you can substitute either two years of post-secondary education and five years of verified auditing experience or seven years of verified experience.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you must have minimum of two years of work experience. A master’s degree can be substituted for one year of work experience when qualifying for CIA certification.

As always, consult the IAA website or contact the organization directly for answers to your eligibility questions.

The CIA Exam’s Format

The CIA exam is fully computerized and administered at more than 500 Prometric testing centers throughout the world. You can schedule to take your exams at any time during the year.

All questions are multiple choice, which means you can get your unofficial score immediately after completing the exam (as well as on the official score later via the IAA website)

CIA Exam Part 1 – Internal Audit Basics

Questions: 125 Multiple Choice
Time: 2 Hours

On Part 1 of the CIA exam, topics to be tested include aspects of mandatory guidance from the IPPF; internal control and risk concepts; and key techniques for conducting internal audit engagements.

CIA Exam Part 2 – Internal Audit Practice

Questions: 100 Multiple Choice
Time: 2 Hours

Part 2 topics tested include managing the internal audit function and establishing a risk-based plan; the steps to manage individual engagements, including planning, supervision, communicating results, and monitoring outcomes; and fraud risks and controls.

CIA Exam Part 3 – Internal Audit Knowledge Elements

Questions: 100 Multiple Choice
Time: 2 Hours

Part 3 tests candidates’ knowledge of governance and business ethics; risk management; organizational structure, including business processes and risks; communication; management and leadership principles; information technology and business continuity; financial management; and the global business environment.

How Does It Compare to CPA and CMA Exams?

This is a very common question, as there are many CPAs and CMAs interested in adding CIA certification to their professional credentials. Obviously, the CIA exam is similar in terms of content as you would find on the AUD section of the CPA exam, and to a lesser extent, BEC and REG.

However, the CMA exam has much longer, more complex kinds of questions, as well as two essay questions. In this regard, the CIA exam is much closer to what you would experience in the MCQ testlets on the CPA exam.