I need to be Certified

Having spent the past 3+ years in internal audit, first for a global building materials manufacturer and now with a Canadian retailer, I figured I ought to go for the certification and make it official.

So, a couple months ago I committed to earning the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation. The first step was to register with the IIA as a candidate, which is done entirely online.

The next step was to select and acquire study materials. The IIA has their own package, which they’re quite fond of based on some phone conversations I had with one of their representatives, and Gleim is another popular one, as far as I can tell from cruising the various LinkedIn internal auditor group discussions.

I went a different route. I had attended an IIA social event for new members (Toronto chapter) back in April, where I met a fellow CA who had more recently achieved her CIA as well, and she recommended Hock as a cost-effective alternative. So far I’m liking it, having worked my way through the textbook for Part 1 of the exam. I’ve begun to use their software (ExamSuccess) to take even more practice questions. (The textbook also has them, sprinkled throughout.)

The CIA exam is four parts, but if you’re a CA or CPA you can apply to be exempted from the final part. Part 4 covers strategic management, global business environments, organizational behaviour, management skills and negotiating.

I’m quite a nerd, so I actually enjoy studying and answering practice questions. Now that I’ve begun the process, I’m surprised I didn’t start it sooner!

Update (Dec. 6, 2011): The budget dropped out for training for the rest of the year and the CIA fell by the wayside. Maybe in 2012!


IIA and ISACA pool resources and expertise

At the end of September the IIA and ISACA announced they had reached an agreement to “create a basis for cooperation and collaboration” between the organizations.

The agreement is formalized in a Memo of Understanding that has been signed by both parties. The MoU lists a few areas where this agreement makes cooperation possible:

  • Speaking and exhibiting at each other’s conferences, seminars and events
  • Conducting jointly sponsored events
  • Mutually recognizing, where appropriate, each other’s continuing education programs for continuing education credits to satisfy requisite certification requirements
  • Participating in training and educational programs offered by either association where such collaboration benefits the attendees
  • Encouraging similar cooperation and collaboration among local chapters of ISACA and The IIA (an activity that already thrives in many places throughout the world)
  • Identifying opportunities for joint projects that advance the global internal audit profession and the professional standing of its members
  • Engaging in periodic discussions on matters of public policy that impact the internal auditing profession
  • Where appropriate, coordinating and promoting unified messages and responses to standards setters, regulators, and legislators globally, and providing them with information regarding best professional practices

In order of value to each organization’s members, the top 3 in my mind are:

  1. Joint projects to advance the internal audit profession
  2. To me this is going to have the biggest impact on stakeholders because the combined knowledge and experience in both groups should lead to higher quality standards and improved best practices. Perhaps a combined set of standards down the road?

  3. Recognizing each other’s continuing education
  4. For members of both organizations this is huge. Program content frequently overlaps (e.g. the IIA’s GTAGs) and internal audit departments generally have staff with CIA and CISA designations (as well as CA and CPA, and others), so significant cost savings may be realizable.

  5. Collaborating on continuing education
  6. This could open up each organization’s continuing education programs to the other one’s members, which immediately introduces fresh topics and facilitators to both groups. Synergy here will allow members to broaden their training, and provide an easier transition from one to both certifications.

The agreement should work out to be a win-win-win — for the organizations, members, and stakeholders. What do you think?