Anyone who, in the aftermath of major international financial scandals such as Enron and Parmalat, had bet on a long dark period for auditing firms would have lost their money today. Despite the temporary damage to image and legal cases, auditing quickly recovered, because the authorities understood that they could restore confidence in the financial markets only by increasing controls, which are the core business of auditing companies.
Business in turmoil
As proof of the liveliness of the sector it is enough to remember that every year in Italy the Big 4 (Kpmg, Deloitte, Reconta Ernst & Young and PriceWaterhouseCoopers) hire a thousand new graduates. Most of them are new hires, but sometimes even replacements, as the most capable auditors are often hired by the banks and corporations to manage their finances.
“Internal auditing”, comments Claudio Banegas Buzzone, branch manager in Rome of Robert Half International, “is an area in strong turmoil both in the banking sector and in companies. The Big 4 offers a training path with rapid maturation times, and an internal auditor with experience and linguistic knowledge can quickly access a series of professional opportunities in companies even in London,
According to Mariano Arcelloni, partner of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the legislation is constantly changing, consequently all the companies obliged by law to make use of the audit (listed companies, insurance companies, SIMs and investment funds) turn to the large multinationals of the auditing.
Wide opportunities
That of the auditor, over time, has established itself as a profession that leads to knowing in detail all the key functions within the company. And that puts the auditors in contact with the top management of the client companies, creating great opportunities, once the internship phase is over.
An auditor can first of all continue his career within one of the Big Four or some other major auditing firm, focusing above all on specialization. ´The peak of their career is, for many, becoming a partner of the auditing company, even if ‘, explains Banegas Buzzone, ´few aim at partnership’ given the high competitiveness and the great availability of offers that one encounters during one’s life professional.
Another very tempting choice is to move to work for a company as an internal auditor. Then there is the banking world, where these figures have gained much greater weight and responsibility than in the past.
“After three years of training, traveling abroad, five weeks a year of classroom training”, says Pellegrino Libroia, country managing partner of Reconta Ernst & Young, “our collaborators become precious in every sense”.
At the beginning of their careers, salaries are low compared to other sectors of finance, but once the apprenticeship is over, salaries rise significantly.
According to Robert Half’s 2006-2007 Salary Guide, an internal auditor with a maximum of two years of experience earns in Italy between 25,000 and 35,000 in a large company (small and medium-sized companies) gross euros. With three to five years of career he earns from 32,000 to 45,000 euros, not including any bonuses and benefits. With six to nine years of experience it rises to 50-60 thousand and seniors with over 15 years of career earn 80-100 thousand euros.
The requirements to succeed
Considerable technical skills and increasing specialization are required of candidates, especially after the financial scandals, perhaps in new regulations such as Basel II, Sarbanes-Oxley, the new international accounting standards (Ias) and the Italian reform of company law. “We have no foreclosures for the duration of the university course”, comments Francesco Spadaro, human resources manager at Kpmg, “obviously changes the training, which in any case is provided for all collaborators. Instead, we attach great importance to language skills’.
However, it is necessary to respect graduation times at any cost. “Finishing the studies in progress and a first revealer of the personal characteristics of the candidate”, concludes Spadaro, “represents an index of his determination, perseverance and the desire to achieve goals”. (All rights reserved)

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