Figure on a Career in Auditing

Article excerpt

Byline: DANNY BRADBURY

Danny Bradbury takes a look at computer auditing as a career move

WITH the trouble over the Enron collapse and all those missing papers still brewing, the auditing profession is having a field day. It is in situations such as that auditors play a significant role, and where the importance of accountability becomes clear. The position of auditors is generally under-emphasised but their role is vital.

What does all this have to do with the computing sector? Quite a lot, says Ian Coyle, a consultant at Barclay Simpson, which specialises in IT security and auditing.

"There is a difference between the auditing and security," he argues. "IT auditors may come along and audit the security work, but that is part of a larger job."

Areas in which computer auditors work include infrastructure review - where a company takes stock of its hardware and software assets and examines ways to improve them. An application review, which the auditors also carry out, focuses specifically on the software part of the IT infrastructure. They also work in a project riskmanagement capacity, defining the things that could go wrong and measuring the ultimate impact on the organisation.

One way that this is handled is by drawing up matrices into which different project elements and their risk and impact can be placed, for a qualitative analysis.

Often people will get into computer auditing through internal recruitment, often through a project management or systems analyst role. The main two qualifications in this sector are the Institute of Internal Auditors' QiCA certification and CISA, which is operated by the Information Systems and Control Association.

QiCA and CICA are both given equal credibility in the industry. The former is more theoretical whereas CICA leans towards practical tasks. CICA requires students to sit a four-hour multiple choice exam, while QiSA has two three-hour long papers.

It is probably not worth taking both exams, as there comes a point at which practical experience outweighs the number of qualifications on your CV. …

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