An internal control officer is responsible for conducting evaluations of their organization to assess risk and compliance with regulations. A large number of these jobs are located within capital-intensive industries such as finance, insurance, education, philanthropy and government. Such a position requires a great deal of autonomy and is vital to maintaining the sound economic and ethical business practices required for healthy commerce.
You must conduct, either personally or through a team, ongoing reviews of all operating procedures, company controls and compliance measures to determine any potential hazards or breaches of conduct. This often will entail creating a yearly internal review plan with senior management, supervising financial audits, assessing the adequacy of asset safeguards, and monitoring proprietary systems or applications to prevent unauthorized access. You must report all findings to management with recommendations for improvement, and upon their approval, implement strategies to induce such change. Additional duties may include outlining the organization's code of ethics, training staff on best practices, serving as a liaison to external audit agencies and staying current on relevant regulatory changes in state or federal law.
You must be highly organized, efficient, detail-oriented and able to multitask. You should have a proactive work ethic, unbending moral code and the ability to think analytically. Strong oral and written communication skills are also crucial in conveying important information to management, employees and outside agencies. You must be able to work interdependently with a team and have the flexibility to thrive in an ever-changing and sometimes loosely structured environment. In addition, in-depth knowledge of applicable regulatory requirements, accounting procedures and Microsoft Office software is a plus, potentially leading to better compensation or greater authority.
Education, Training and Experience
Critical positions like this require at least a four-year degree, preferably in a related field such as finance, accounting or business administration. And although it is not necessary, a graduate degree in law or business, particularly with an emphasis in the given field, or a professional certification like Certified Internal Controls Auditor can increase your chances of being hired. Most employers also want at least three to five years of experience in an auditor or internal controls capacity. Experience can be gained by accepting entry-level work in an organization, such as an assistant in the compliance department or staff accountant on the internal auditor's team.
Salary and Economic Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compliance officers in May of 2012 earned a mean annual wage of $64,960, or $31.23 per hour. Those in the lowest 10 percent earned just over $35,000 per year, while the top 10 percent earned almost $98,000. Approximately 227,500 such jobs existed in 2012, with the heaviest concentration of employment in public sector organizations. And while no reliable predictions exist for compliance officers specifically, the BLS expects auditor jobs to grow 16 percent between 2010 and 2020, outpacing the national average for all jobs by 2 percent.
2016 Salary Information for Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $68,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, accountants and auditors earned a 25th percentile salary of $53,240, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $90,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,397,700 people were employed in the U.S. as accountants and auditors.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Compliance Officers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Accountants and Auditors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Accountants and Auditors
- Career Trend: Accountants and Auditors
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