In this post, I will share 6 skills you need to be a successful IT Auditor.
As I noted in my previous post, being an IT Auditor takes more than simply obtaining the CISA certification. Another prior post shares 5 Essential Soft Skills in the Workplace for Career Success in the technology field.
This post is more specific to skills needed for IT Auditing as there are specific skills that you need to become a successful IT Auditor. You will be surprised that technical skills are only part of what you need to be a successful IT Auditor.
Let’s get started.
Skill #1: Data Analysis
I will address the technical skill first since it’s the only one on the list.
IT Auditing requires a lot of data analysis. So, one of the critical technical skills you need to be a successful IT Auditor is data analysis skills.
You need to be comfortable looking at large data sets and know exactly how to use available tools to analyze the data.
The goal of data analysis in IT Audit is to make sense of data to come up with valid conclusions based on your test procedures. So, you must have data analysis skills that help you reach valid conclusions for your audit engagements.
Skill #2: Be Inquisitive/Ask Questions
One of the sayings in the audit world is ‘Trust but Verify.’
This means that even though you can trust what clients tell you, you still need to independently verify.
One of the skills you need to be a successful IT Auditor is inquisitiveness.
To do this, you have to always ask ‘why’ when you are provided information. You can’t just accept what you’re being told without asking questions to get more details.
You will be surprised how many times you are told ‘that is how we do it’ when interviewing clients. Whenever you hear that, you should always ask ‘Why’ instead of just taking their word for it.
Being inquisitive and asking further questions will get you more information than the average auditor that does not ask follow-up questions. This additional information helps you reach a more informed conclusion on test procedures, which sets you up for career success.
Skill #3: Project Management
Each Audit engagement is like an audit project. So, one of the critical skills you need to be a successful IT Auditor is good project management skills.
You need project management skills to successfully manage your IT audits from beginning to end.
You need to know how to manage your audit tasks and also how to manage the time allocated to each audit.
Good project management skills will help you complete your audit engagements on time and within budget.
Without proper project management, you may find that you are spending too much time on an audit. The time wasted could potentially impact the time that you are supposed to spend on other audits.
So, to be a successful IT Auditor, you need project (time and task) management skills.
Skill #4: People Skills
Nobody wants to be audited.
I’ve never seen anyone excited that they were going through an audit. If you have, please let me know in the comments section.
So, what do you do when nobody wants you around during an audit? You need to leverage people skills and general emotional intelligence.
You have to relate to the client as individuals and not just people you are auditing. When the client feels like you’re not there to ‘get them in trouble’, they are more likely to be more helpful on the audit.
Personally, I try to be courteous to my clients and understand them a little bit at the beginning of the audit. I let them know that the audit would ultimately help them improve their processes if issues were identified.
When I find issues, I do not make it about the individual who made a mistake. I focus on the issue and steer the client away from taking it personally.
So, another one of the essential skills you need to become a successful IT Auditor is good people skills that help you relate better with your clients.
If your clients don’t find you relatable, they may be uncooperative and withold information that you need. This lack of cooperation can ultimately extend the duration of your audits.
Skill #5: Verbal Communication Skills
When you work in IT Audit, you talk to people A LOT. As such, you need to develop your verbal communication skills.
You will need good verbal communication skills when interviewing clients or performing walkthroughs. You also need verbal communication skills when discussing audit testing results.
When performing audit interviews, it is critical for you to clearly ask your questions to get the right set of responses. If you ask the wrong questions or ask the right questions the wrong way, you may get answers unrelated to your audit. This can potentially increase the time for the interviews and delay the completion of the audit.
When communicating testing results, you have to clearly state the issue identified, why it was an issue, and the risk of the issue to the IT environment. Most likely, you will get a lot of follow-up questions when communicating test results, so you need the ability to respond appropriately.
So, one of the essential skills you need to be a successful IT Auditor is adequate verbal communication skills. This helps you communicate well with your client and management.
Skill #6: Written Communication Skills
The last skill you need to become a successful IT Auditor is good written communication skills.
One thing that I did not expect as a new IT Auditor was the amount of documentation involved. As an IT Auditor, you need to send many emails during an audit, document test results, complete workpapers, and write audit reports. All of these involve A LOT of writing that needs to clearly communicate information.
So, you need to have very good written communication skills to adequately communicate with your clients and managers. Without proper written communication skills, you will lack the ability to adequately share information with anyone. Quite frankly, poor writing skills can actually limit your overall career success.
As such, one of the critical skills you need to be an IT Auditor is good written communication skills. This will set you apart from those that lack that skill and prepare you for career success.
There you have it. 6 skills you need to be a successful IT Auditor. Which of these skills is your strong point? Which one is a weakness that you plan to develop? If you plan to develop a skill, what is your plan?
If you want a course that teaches about IT Audits using a practical, hands-on approach, then check out this course that I offer (it’s only $10!).
- IT Audit Fundamentals: Introduction to IT Audit, Controls and Controls Testing: A foundational course that teaches the basics of IT Audits and Controls with 10 practical learning activities, quizzes, and assignments. This course has almost 200 students and great reviews!
You can also check out these other related posts.
- IT Audit Career and the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) Certification
- 6 Tips on How to Pass Certification Exams – The First Time
- 10 IT Career Paths for Women in Technology
- Project Management Career and the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification
- 7 Remote Job Opportunities in Information Technology
- 5 High Salary Information Technology Jobs – No Technical Degree