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How Do You Become A Comptroller?

ComptrollerDo you want to become a comptroller? A comptroller is a financial executive who works for government agencies or non-profit organizations. As the person in charge of overseeing the internal auditing in a public agency, you hold a significant amount of responsibility in verifying that accounting professionals are using all of the proper accounting methods. As you might expect, you will need years of experience in an accounting or auditing field before you will even be considered as a candidate for a senior of financial auditing. If you are not sure how to make your dream of becoming an comptroller a reality, read on and follow these steps.

Enroll in an Accredited Accounting Program

The very first step to becoming a comptroller is to earn your degree in accounting from an accredited institution. You will need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in accounting before you can land an entry-level accounting position in a public agency or not-for-profit agency. The best major to take is in Accounting, but you can select concentrations related to auditing that will help prepare you early on. Some of the concentrations that you can choose are internal auditing or forensic auditing.

Become a Member of the IIA

While you are in school, you should join associations that will help you prepare to become an auditor. The Institute of Internal Auditors offers students the opportunity to become a member and to receive guidance and additional training that will help you in school. You can become a member as an undergrad student or as a graduate student by paying a small fee and showing that you are attending an auditing program.

Start Working in an Accounting Position

You will need several years of experience working in an accounting role before you can submit your application to be considered for an open comptroller position. After you earn a degree, you can work as an assistant in the auditing department and work your way up. Typically, working in the public sector can help you accomplish more toward your career path, because you will build a reputation and a professional network. Working in the public sector can also help you gain experience with governmental accounting practices that you would not learn when you work for a private organization.

Take the CIA Exam

If you really want to attract attention when a comptroller steps down, you should become a Certified Internal Auditor. This test is much like the CPA exam with a focus on auditing. To sit for the exam, many states will require that you have a master’s degree or additional credits completed past your undergraduate study. If this is the case, you will need to enroll in additional courses before you can sit. In some cases, your experience will replace graduate degree requirements. Be sure to research the requirements in your state before you are confident that you are ready to test.

Related Resource: External Auditor

After you hold your degrees and your certification, you will need to scope out opportunities. You will play a vital role in the financial success of an organization, and agencies want to know that you are an expert before you will be hired. Take these steps to become a comptroller, build a reputation, and become a popular figure that can be trusted.