How to Become an Audit Manager (Excel in Excelling)

how to become an audit manager

If you’ve ever been intrigued by the world of financial oversight or pondered what it takes to become an Audit Manager, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the EXACT steps you need to take to forge your career as an Audit Manager. We’ll discuss:

  • The skills you need.
  • The education that can facilitate your journey.
  • How to secure a job as an Audit Manager.

So, whether you’re a novice in the financial realm or a seasoned professional aiming to upscale, stay tuned.

We’re about to lay out the roadmap to become an Audit Manager.

Let’s get started!

Contents show

Steps to Become an Audit Manager


Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or Finance

Getting started in a career as an Audit Manager begins by earning a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as Accounting or Finance.

During your undergraduate studies, you will gain an understanding of the principles of accounting, finance, business, and management.

You will learn about different types of accounting, including financial accounting, management accounting, taxation accounting, and auditing.

Courses in business law, economics, and statistics are also typically included in these programs.

They provide a solid foundation for understanding the business environment in which auditing operates.

In addition to the technical skills, this degree will also equip you with critical thinking, analytical skills, and attention to detail that are essential for the role of an Audit Manager.

Participate in internships or part-time jobs in accounting or auditing to gain practical exposure.

It’s important to note that while a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for an entry-level position in auditing, most Audit Managers possess a master’s degree or professional certifications like Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

Therefore, consider this step as a foundation for further educational and professional advancements in your journey to become an Audit Manager.


Step 2: Gain Experience in Auditing

Before you can become an audit manager, you need to gain significant experience in auditing.

This generally involves starting your career in entry-level positions such as an audit associate or an audit assistant.

In these roles, you will have the opportunity to learn about the different audit procedures, laws and regulations, as well as how to analyze financial statements and internal controls.

During this time, you will also learn how to handle clients, work within a team, and use different auditing software.

It’s also beneficial to gain experience in different industries to understand their specific auditing processes and challenges.

Furthermore, you should consider obtaining professional auditing certifications such as Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as these certifications can significantly boost your career prospects and credibility.

While gaining experience, it’s crucial to demonstrate high levels of integrity, attention to detail, and critical thinking skills, as these are the key traits of successful audit managers.

Typically, you need to have at least five to seven years of auditing experience before you can move into an audit manager position.

The exact duration of experience required may vary depending on the organization’s size and the complexity of its auditing needs.


Step 3: Achieve Professional Certifications

If you’re aspiring to become an Audit Manager, achieving professional certifications is an important step in your career progression.

These certifications not only deepen your knowledge of auditing and financial management but also set you apart from your peers in the job market.

One of the most recognized certifications in this field is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.

As a CPA, you will be regarded as a trusted financial advisor who has satisfied stringent educational and professional requirements.

The CPA exam is divided into four sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG).

In addition to the CPA certification, you may also consider obtaining the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification.

This certification is globally recognized and is specifically designed for professionals who want to focus on internal auditing.

The exam covers topics such as internal audit theory, individual audit processes, and business applications.

Lastly, you may consider the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification if you are interested in auditing information systems.

This certification focuses on IT governance, system and infrastructure lifecycle management, IT service delivery and support, protection of information assets, and business resilience.

Remember, each of these certifications requires a certain amount of professional experience and continuous education to maintain.

Hence, it is important to plan your career path accordingly.


Step 4: Develop Strong Analytical and Leadership Skills

As an aspiring Audit Manager, it is crucial to develop strong analytical and leadership skills.

These skills not only help with the day-to-day responsibilities but are also essential for career growth in the field of auditing.

Analytical skills are fundamental to auditing because it involves reviewing and interpreting large volumes of financial data.

This includes critical thinking, problem-solving, and attention to detail.

These skills can be enhanced by pursuing a relevant course or training, or by gaining practical experience in a junior role within an audit firm.

Leadership skills are equally important because Audit Managers are responsible for leading a team of auditors.

This involves tasks such as delegating work, making strategic decisions, and ensuring that team members perform their tasks effectively and efficiently.

You can develop leadership skills by taking on leadership roles in your current job, volunteering for leadership positions in non-profit organizations, or attending leadership training programs.

Having both strong analytical and leadership skills will help you excel in your role as an Audit Manager and pave the way for future career advancement.


Step 5: Build Expertise in Financial Regulations and Laws

As an audit manager, you’ll need a thorough understanding of financial regulations and laws, as you’ll be responsible for ensuring your company’s compliance with these rules.

You can develop this knowledge by taking courses, attending seminars, or reading professional publications.

You should stay updated on changes in regulations and laws that may affect your industry.

There are various areas of financial regulations you may want to focus on, such as tax law, securities regulation, and banking regulation.

It’s also important to understand the standards set by regulatory bodies, such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) or the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Some companies may require their audit managers to have certifications such as Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), or Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA).

These certifications can validate your knowledge and skills in the field and increase your chances of advancement.

Additionally, in-depth knowledge of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which is a federal law that sets guidelines for company financial practices, is essential for audit managers in the United States.

Remember, the more you understand about financial regulations and laws, the more effective you will be at identifying potential risks and providing solutions for your company’s financial operations.


Step 6: Master Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Audit Managers need to interact with a variety of people on a daily basis, such as clients, accountants, and other stakeholders.

Hence, excellent communication and interpersonal skills are critical for success in this role.

As an Audit Manager, you should be able to effectively explain complex financial concepts and auditing procedures to people with different backgrounds.

This includes presenting your audit findings and recommendations in a clear and concise manner.

You also need to have strong negotiation skills, as you may have to convince clients or other stakeholders to accept your recommendations or make necessary changes.

Interpersonal skills are equally important.

As a manager, you should be able to lead, inspire, and motivate your team.

This involves understanding their strengths and weaknesses, resolving conflicts, and fostering a positive working environment.

You should also be able to build strong relationships with clients and stakeholders, which can help ensure their cooperation during the auditing process.

To master these skills, you should take advantage of any training or development opportunities your company offers.

This could include workshops, seminars, or coaching sessions on effective communication, conflict resolution, leadership, or customer service.

You could also consider seeking feedback from colleagues, superiors, or mentors to identify areas for improvement.


Step 7: Gain Exposure to Different Industries and Sectors

As an aspiring audit manager, it’s essential to gain exposure to various industries and sectors.

This will broaden your knowledge and experience, thus making you more versatile and valuable as an audit professional.

In auditing, the principles can be applied across different industries, but it’s the knowledge of industry-specific regulations, practices and nuances that sets apart an experienced auditor.

You can achieve this exposure through working in a larger accounting or auditing firm that handles clients from various industries.

This offers an opportunity to work on a diverse range of audit projects.

You could also opt for rotational roles if they are available within your organization.

In addition to this, attending workshops, seminars, and continuous professional education programs can help you stay updated about the trends and changes in different sectors.

Joining professional associations and networking can also expose you to different industries.

It’s also beneficial to gain some experience in different types of audit such as internal, external, and information systems.

This helps you understand the comprehensive audit landscape better, leading to a well-rounded understanding of the audit function.

Remember, the more industries and sectors you become familiar with, the better prepared you will be to tackle various audit challenges, and the more marketable you will become as an audit manager.


Step 8: Take on Managerial Responsibilities

As you advance in your career as an auditor, you will need to take on managerial responsibilities to be considered for the Audit Manager role.

This might mean leading a small team of junior auditors, coordinating with different departments to gather necessary information, or overseeing the completion of an audit project.

You might also be responsible for hiring and training new audit staff, creating audit plans, or presenting findings to senior management.

In this role, you’ll need to demonstrate excellent leadership skills, critical thinking, and an ability to manage multiple projects at once.

You’ll also be expected to understand the business’ objectives and risks, and to design and implement comprehensive audit strategies that align with these.

Prior experience in a supervisory or managerial role in auditing or a related field will be valuable.

This step is crucial for the transition to an Audit Manager role as it gives you a taste of the leadership and strategic planning responsibilities that come with it.

This also gives you the opportunity to prove your capability in managing teams and projects, which is a key requirement in the Audit Manager role.

Remember, this step is about more than just managing people; it’s about leading, inspiring, and being accountable for the overall performance of your team.


Step 9: Stay Current with Industry Changes and Continuing Education

As an Audit Manager, it is crucial to stay updated with the latest trends and changes in the auditing and financial industry.

This includes new laws, regulations, best practices, and technologies.

You can do this by reading industry publications, attending seminars, workshops, and conferences, and taking part in professional development courses.

It is also important to comply with any continuing education requirements that may be set by your professional certification bodies.

For example, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs) are often required to complete a certain number of continuing professional education (CPE) hours each year to maintain their certification.

Furthermore, consider pursuing additional certifications or advanced degrees that can further your knowledge and make you more competitive in the field.

These may include a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

Remember, as an Audit Manager, your expertise and knowledge not only affect your performance but also the performance of the team you lead.

Therefore, continuous learning and staying abreast of industry changes is not an option, but a necessity.


Step 10: Apply for Audit Manager Positions

Once you have gained the necessary qualifications, skills, and experience, the next step is to apply for Audit Manager positions.

These are typically available in public accounting firms, large corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Start by researching potential employers and understanding their requirements.

Pay attention to the job description and make sure you tailor your application to match the specific needs of each role.

Showcase your skills and experiences that align with what the employer is seeking.

In addition to your resume, prepare a compelling cover letter that explains why you are interested in the role and how your unique abilities can contribute to the organization.

Remember to highlight your achievements in your previous audit roles, your leadership abilities, and your expertise in audit methodologies, regulations, and standards.

Networking can also play a crucial role in finding job opportunities.

Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with professionals in the field on social media platforms.

These connections can provide valuable insights and may even lead to job opportunities.

Before applying, prepare yourself for potential interviews.

Brush up on your knowledge about the company, current industry trends, and common interview questions for Audit Manager roles.

Remember, applying for an Audit Manager role can be a competitive process.

Be persistent, follow up on your applications, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a response immediately.

Keep refining your applications based on feedback and continue to expand your professional network.



Audit Manager Roles and Responsibilities

Audit Managers oversee the process of auditing a company’s financial statements and procedures to ensure accuracy, compliance, and integrity.

They lead audit teams and provide direction and supervision.

They also maintain relationships with clients to ensure efficient communication and coordination.

They have the following roles and responsibilities:


Audit Planning

  • Develop audit objectives, plans, and scope in line with the organization’s goals.
  • Identify potential audit risks and issues.
  • Allocate resources and staff for audits.


Audit Execution

  • Lead and oversee audit procedures to ensure they are conducted as planned.
  • Review and examine financial statements and records for accuracy.
  • Assess the efficacy of internal controls.


Audit Reporting

  • Prepare detailed reports on audit findings and recommendations.
  • Present audit results to management or Board of Directors.
  • Follow up on audit findings to ensure that appropriate actions are taken.


Compliance and Regulations

  • Ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
  • Stay updated on changes in regulations that may affect the organization’s operations.
  • Guide the organization in regulatory matters.


Client Relationships

  • Establish and maintain relationships with clients to facilitate audit processes.
  • Address and resolve any issues or concerns raised by clients.


Team Management

  • Manage and lead audit teams.
  • Provide training, guidance, and feedback to team members.
  • Ensure the professional development of the audit team.


Risk Management

  • Identify and evaluate the organization’s risk areas.
  • Implement measures to manage and mitigate risks.


Quality Assurance

  • Ensure quality of audit procedures and reports.
  • Develop and implement improvements in auditing practices.


Continuous Learning

  • Stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, technologies, and auditing standards.
  • Attend professional development trainings and seminars.



  • Communicate audit findings and recommendations effectively to stakeholders.
  • Establish and maintain open communication with management and audit committee.


What Does an Audit Manager Do?

Audit Managers are primarily responsible for overseeing and managing audit-related activities within a company or for a range of clients in an accounting firm.

They plan, direct, and manage financial audits to evaluate the accuracy and legality of the firm’s financial records, operations, and controls.

They also work closely with auditors and accountants to ensure that audit tasks are completed on time and within budget.

Audit Managers review audit findings, prepare and present audit reports, highlighting issues and potential risks.

Their role is crucial in providing assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatements and errors.

They typically work with other departments or clients to help them understand the results and implications of audit findings and provide advice on how to improve their systems and controls to prevent future discrepancies.

Moreover, they are responsible for developing and implementing audit strategies, as well as maintaining up-to-date knowledge of changes in financial regulations and legislations.

Audit Managers also play a significant role in staff management and development.

They supervise and mentor junior auditors, assisting in their professional growth and ensuring that the audit team works efficiently and effectively.

Their role requires strong analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills, as well as a high level of attention to detail and a solid understanding of auditing standards and accounting principles.


Essential Audit Manager Skills

  • Communication: Audit managers must be able to express complex financial issues and risks clearly, both verbally and in writing. They need to relay information effectively to both audit team members and non-financial stakeholders.
  • Analytical Thinking: An audit manager needs to systematically evaluate financial records, statements and transactions. The ability to interpret and analyze data is critical in identifying discrepancies and potential issues.
  • Financial Knowledge: Proficiency in accounting principles, financial reporting and other financial concepts is fundamental for audit managers. A thorough understanding of the financial sector is crucial for identifying potential risks and irregularities.
  • Attention to Detail: As the role involves reviewing financial statements and identifying discrepancies, attention to detail is critical. An audit manager should be able to spot any irregularities or inaccuracies in financial documents.
  • Leadership: Audit managers lead auditing teams, so excellent leadership skills are required. They need to be able to motivate their teams, delegate tasks efficiently and handle conflicts.
  • Regulatory Knowledge: Familiarity with industry-specific laws, regulations, and standards is essential. An audit manager should know how to ensure an organization’s compliance with these regulations.
  • Risk Assessment: A key aspect of auditing is identifying potential risks. Audit managers need to understand risk management principles and be able to predict and mitigate potential threats to an organization’s financial health.
  • Project Management: Audit managers oversee multiple audits simultaneously, so project management skills are vital. They need to organize, plan and manage resources to successfully complete each audit.
  • Integrity: As they have access to sensitive financial information, audit managers need to demonstrate a high degree of integrity and professionalism. They must adhere to strict ethical standards to maintain the trust of their clients.
  • IT Skills: With the increasing use of technology in auditing, IT skills are becoming more critical. Familiarity with auditing software and other financial software systems can greatly improve the efficiency of the auditing process.
  • Problem Solving: Audit managers should be able to tackle complex financial issues and develop effective solutions. They need to be able to think critically and resolve issues that arise during audits.
  • Report Writing: After the completion of an audit, managers need to create detailed reports outlining their findings. Therefore, excellent report writing and presentation skills are necessary.
  • Teamwork: An audit manager should be able to work effectively within a team, encouraging cooperation, and promoting a collaborative working environment.
  • Client Service: Understanding the needs of the client and delivering high-quality service is crucial. An audit manager should be able to build and maintain strong relationships with clients.
  • Time Management: Audit managers often face tight deadlines. Therefore, time management skills are crucial in order to balance multiple projects and tasks effectively.


Audit Manager Career Path Progression

The Foundation: Junior Auditor

At the start of your career in auditing, you will likely begin as a Junior Auditor.

At this stage, your responsibilities may include assisting in audit preparation, conducting basic audit tests, and compiling data for analysis.

Here are some tips for success in this role:

  1. Learn Continuously: Stay updated with the latest auditing techniques, standards, and regulations.
  2. Seek Mentorship: Learn from senior colleagues and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
  3. Accuracy and Detail-Oriented: Develop an eye for detail and focus on accuracy in your work.


The Ascent: Auditor

With experience and knowledge, you can transition into the role of an Auditor.

In this role, you would lead audit engagements, identify and assess risks, and work with clients to improve their controls and processes.

Here’s how to thrive in this stage:

  1. Problem Solving: Develop strong analytical skills and ability to solve complex audit issues.
  2. Collaboration: Work effectively with team members and communicate regularly with clients.
  3. Professionalism: Uphold the highest standards of integrity and confidentiality.


Reaching New Heights: Senior Auditor

As a Senior Auditor, you will take on more responsibilities, manage junior auditors, and directly communicate with clients regarding audit results.

To excel as a Senior Auditor:

  1. Mentorship: Share your knowledge and experience with junior auditors.
  2. Strategic Thinking: Understand the overall business context and use it to guide your audit work.
  3. Leadership: Show initiative and leadership in managing audit engagements and teams.


Beyond the Horizon: Audit Supervisor and Beyond

Moving further in your career, you might take on roles such as Audit Supervisor or Audit Director.

These roles involve overseeing multiple audit engagements, setting audit standards and policies, and making strategic decisions.

Here’s what to focus on:

  1. Technical Leadership: Oversee complex audits and guide your team through challenging situations.
  2. Management Skills: Develop strong leadership and interpersonal skills to effectively manage your team.
  3. Business Acumen: Understand the broader business environment and use this knowledge to add value through audits.


Pinnacle of Success: Chief Audit Executive

At the highest level of an auditing career, you may aspire to become a Chief Audit Executive.

In this role, you would be responsible for setting the strategic direction of the audit function within the organization, managing risks, and advising the board of directors and senior management.


Audit Manager Salary

Entry-Level Audit Manager

  • Median Salary: $60,000 – $80,000 per year
  • Entry-level audit managers typically have 0-3 years of experience and may hold bachelor’s degrees in accounting, finance, or related fields. They are often responsible for assisting with audit planning and fieldwork.


Mid-Level Audit Manager

  • Median Salary: $80,000 – $120,000 per year
  • Mid-level audit managers have 3-7 years of experience and often take on more complex audit responsibilities including managing client relationships and supervising audit teams.


Senior Audit Manager

  • Median Salary: $100,000 – $150,000 per year
  • Senior audit managers possess 7+ years of experience and are responsible for managing multiple audits, supervising teams, and providing strategic audit guidance to clients.


Director of Audit / Audit Partner

  • Median Salary: $130,000 – $200,000+ per year
  • These roles require extensive audit experience, a deep understanding of audit procedures and regulations, and the ability to develop and maintain strong client relationships. They also often involve strategic decision-making and leadership within the audit department of a company or firm.


Audit Manager Work Environment

Audit Managers primarily work in office settings, although the specific environment can vary widely depending on the organization.

They may find employment in public accounting firms, internal audit departments of companies, government agencies, or financial institutions.

Their work often involves collaborative tasks, meaning they work closely with a team of auditors, as well as other departments within the organization.

They are frequently required to meet with clients, top executives, and regulatory bodies, which may involve travel to different locations.

Audit Managers usually work full time and may need to work extra hours during busy periods like the end of the fiscal year.

Their role demands a high level of accuracy, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.

Many Audit Managers may have the opportunity to progress to more senior roles within the organization, such as Senior Audit Manager or Director of Internal Audit, depending on their performance and the size and structure of their employer.


FAQs About Becoming an Audit Manager

What is needed to become an Audit Manager?

To become an Audit Manager, you will need a strong foundation in accounting, auditing, and financial management.

This typically involves earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, and acquiring professional qualifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

Practical experience in auditing or accounting, often several years, is usually required.

Essential skills include an understanding of auditing principles and practices, strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, familiarity with accounting software and systems, and effective communication and leadership skills.


How long does it take to become an Audit Manager?

The time it takes to become an Audit Manager can vary.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes four years, many prospective audit managers start their careers as auditors or accountants.

It typically takes several years of experience (often five to seven) to progress to a managerial role.

Gaining professional certifications, such as the CPA, can also take additional time but may accelerate career progression.


Can I become an Audit Manager without a degree?

While it may be technically possible to become an Audit Manager without a formal degree, it is highly unlikely due to the technical nature of the job.

Most Audit Managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.

Professional certifications, which often require a degree, are also common in this field.

Moreover, employers typically look for candidates with several years of auditing experience, which is usually gained in roles that require a degree.


Is being an Audit Manager a stressful job?

Being an Audit Manager can be stressful at times, as the role often involves managing tight deadlines, handling complex financial analyses, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, and dealing with difficult situations or findings.

However, the level of stress can vary depending on the company, the specific role, and the individual’s time management and stress coping strategies.

Many Audit Managers find the work intellectually challenging and rewarding, which can offset the stress.


What are the prospects for Audit Managers in the next decade?

The prospects for Audit Managers are expected to remain steady in the next decade.

Businesses will always require audits to ensure financial accuracy and compliance with regulations.

Additionally, as financial regulations and business practices become increasingly complex, the demand for experienced Audit Managers who can navigate this complexity is likely to remain high.

Emerging fields such as environmental auditing, technology auditing, and risk management also present growth opportunities.



And there you have it.

Choosing to become an audit manager is not a decision to be taken lightly, but it is one that is full of potential rewards.

Equipped with the appropriate skills, knowledge, and resolve, you’re already on the right path to making a substantial difference in the financial industry.

Remember, the journey may be tough, but the possibilities are endless. Your contribution could pave the way for improved financial practices and accountability.

So, take the plunge. Immerse yourself in continuous learning. Connect with industry professionals. And most importantly, never stop refining your skills.

Because the financial world is eagerly anticipating your expertise.

And if you’re seeking personalized guidance on starting or advancing your career in audit management, don’t hesitate to use our AI Career Path Advisor.

This complimentary tool is designed to provide customized suggestions and resources to help you effectively navigate your career path.

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