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Zuhair AluanMeet Zuhair Aluan: Keep Yourself Relevant or Risk Being Left Behind

Zuhair Aluan, CIA, CCSA
Internal Audit Officer
Top 3 Petroleum Refining Company
Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

1. What prompted you to become certified?

When I joined my first company as an internal auditor, I was assigned to many different audit units — each with a different style of management. I enrolled in the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) program to be better equipped with a valid, well-known, globally accepted certification and competent knowledge to give reasonable assurance on governance, risk management, and internal control. Now I can proudly say that I am a Certified Internal Auditor. For me, this achievement represents a great investment of my time and money, as not only was I offered a better remuneration package, but I can also share, practice, and implement my knowledge to better enhance my organization’s business activities and processes.

2. What IIA certifications do you hold, and why did you choose to pursue them? Do you plan to pursue other IIA certifications, and if so, which ones and why?

Currently, I hold two IIA certifications: CIA and Certification in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA). I also have signed up for the Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) because I can see its relevance and importance to thoroughly assessing strategic and operational risks in each and every business unit.

3. How does having IIA certifications set you apart from your non-certified peers?

Having a globally recognized certification (CIA) has become a dream for all internal auditors in my department. Upper management gives us full support in terms of financial and time flexibility in order to obtain the certification. Due to that, successfully becoming a Certified Internal Auditor is very much celebrated and rewarded in recognition of the hard work and dedication it requires.

4. How have your IIA certifications helped your career?

Being a certified auditor in the field helps me greatly in terms of recommending important audit points of view to audit clients. Primarily because they are looking at me as an expert auditor, someone with the credibility to advise and describe world situations related to the business unit generally and to suggest practical and professional recommendations specifically.

5. Has earning IIA certifications enhanced your skill level?

After obtaining my IIA certifications, I have realized that my audit work and recommendations are relatively more detailed, specific, and practical. I have also become a point of reference in my department in any audit-related matters, thus encouraging a culture of knowledge sharing between me and my colleagues.

6. What advice do you have for others who are considering obtaining an IIA certification?

  • Don’t think twice. Just register, prepare yourself, and sit for the exam;
  • Gather the right study materials;
  • Prepare early, consistently, and persistently. Give yourself enough time to study;
  • Study smart; know what your study style is and do it as you please. Make sure your study pace is organized;
  • Understand the topics and try to relate them to your auditing work;
  • Answer lots of practice questions and understand the important point behind each of the questions.

7. How does career planning and development play a part in your growth?

Career planning and development plays a significant role in my growth. As we all know, the world is changing day by day, in every aspect, especially information technology. My superior once said, if we don’t keep up with the changes, our recommendations might become obsolete and less value-added. To equip myself with essential ‘tools’ to face this challenging world, I must conduct proper career planning as well as self-development to keep relevant in the business.

8. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Keep yourself relevant, or you will be left behind.

Biography

Zuhair Aluan was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and moved to Nilai, Negeri Sembilan in 2019. He began his career as an internal auditor in 2011 with one of the major conglomerates in Malaysia. He has since become the audit team leader for various audits in different industries, under the same company — including abroad at offices in Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. He has also been extremely involved in various assurance and consulting activities within his organization. Zuhair enjoys encouraging management to adopt a better risk management culture and improving awareness of its importance to relevant stakeholders. His interests include singing, badminton, soccer, weight training, hiking, and spending time with colleagues and family.

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