Internal auditors receive modest raises


By Ken Tysiac

Although internal auditors in the US and Canada generally received modest pay raises in the past year, the median salaries for many US internal audit positions decreased, according to a new survey report.

In the 2015 internal audit compensation study published Tuesday by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), 80% of US respondents reported granting internal audit employees a base salary increase of between 2% and 4%. That’s up slightly from the 79% that received raises of 2% to 4% the previous year.

Meanwhile, 72% of US organisations participating in the survey are expected to give all of their internal audit employees base pay increases in the next 12 months, an increase from 70% in the 2014 survey and 68% in the 2013 survey.

But median salaries in the US for nine of the ten internal audit positions represented in the survey decreased from last year. The lone exception was IT audit director, which increased by 2.4%. Overall, the median salaries across the ten positions in the survey dropped by an average of 2.8% compared with last year.

Amongst Canadian respondents, 59% of organisations gave internal audit employees salary increases of 2% to 4% in the past 12 months; that’s down from 62% the previous year. And 54% of Canadian respondents expect their organisations to give base pay increases to all internal audit employees, down from 71% in the 2014 survey and 79% in the 2013 survey.

But median salaries increased amongst Canadian respondents for all four internal audit positions represented in the survey.

The survey showed that internal auditors can increase their compensation, though, by acquiring skills that are in high demand. Auditors in the US with expertise in areas such as fraud/forensic accounting, IT, or environmental auditing are paid significantly more than those who perform only operational audits, according to the survey. The survey data show that each additional area of expertise increased salaries by about $9,700.

Higher levels of education also can lead to higher pay, as internal auditors who hold a master’s degree earn 13% more than those with a bachelor’s degree.

The news from the survey wasn’t good for all internal auditors who have additional skills. Pay for staff-level information technology auditors fell more than 9% in the past year. However, salary levels for this position have been volatile in recent years, with a 7% decrease in 2013 followed by an 8% increase in 2014.

Ken Tysiac (ktysiac@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine editorial director.