Meet Osvaldo Alvarez-Paduani, CIA – Seize the Opportunity
Osvaldo J. Alvarez-Paduani
Internal Audit Manager
Ballester Hermanos, Inc.
Cataño, Puerto Rico
What prompted you to become certified?
My employer had recognized the need to periodically review and audit a host of organizational processes to optimize operations, which warranted the creation of an internal audit activity. I was offered the opportunity to spearhead the development of the department and I knew that earning my Certified Internal Auditor designation would be a key factor in empowering me to be successful.
- What IIA certification(s) do you hold, and why did you choose to pursue it (them)? Do you plan to pursue other IIA certifications, and if so, which ones and why?
I hold the CIA designation. I chose to earn my CIA because I knew that as the flagship credential for the profession, it would demonstrate to my employer that I had the skills and commitment to professionalism to lead the development of our organization’s internal audit activity. I plan to pursue the CRMA because this certification will provide me with more in-depth knowledge of the risk management and governance processes to allow me to more effectively communicate key findings of audit reports to senior management during meetings.
- How does having an IIA certification(s) set you apart from your non-certified peers?
When people know that you are a Certified Internal Auditor, I think it automatically elevates your level of professionalism in their minds. Your certification communicates that you are competent, prepared, and focused before you even begin speaking.
- How has your IIA certification(s) helped your career?
It has given me a lot more confidence on the job. For instance, I am currently leading a Lean Six Sigma project and the skills I gained by going through the certification process have helped me in every phase of the project including: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. I have also received a raise since becoming certified and noticed that I have received more respect from my peers. I have colleagues who never reached out to me prior to me becoming certified and now they turn to me for advice on process improvement, internal control, and new projects.
- Has earning the IIA certification(s) enhanced your skill level?
Yes, earning my CIA has taken my accounting and financial skills, as well as my auditing and risk assessment skills to a higher level.
- What advice do you have for others who are considering obtaining an IIA certification?
First, explore whether your employer will support your efforts financially. My employer covered the cost completely and it was a key factor in allowing me to pursue certification. Additionally, realize that earning your certification is not only a financial commitment, but a time commitment and budget accordingly. Everyone approaches it differently, but I took one exam part at a time and dedicated three hours each weekday and four hours on the weekends to studying for a full month before each exam part.
- How does career planning and development play a part in your growth?
As a professional I never want to stop learning and I realize that I must make a conscious effort to make that happen. That means I need to establish an open line of communication between my supervisor, human resources, and myself to identify opportunities that benefit me professionally and my organization. I am currently exploring earning my CPA, Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma and FP&A.
- What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
One of my managers once said to me, “When you realize that you don’t have anything more to learn in a job, you have to find a new one.”
Oslvaldo J. Alvarez-Paduani, CIA, is an internal audit manager for a family-owned company in the wholesale food and beverage trade. He began his career before even starting college by working for a small accounting firm with only three employees. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the American University of Puerto Rico Manatí Campus, he went onto earn his master’s degree in Finance from the Interamerican University of Puerto RicoMetro Campus. For the last couple of years, he has led his organization’s internal audit efforts, having helped to originally establish the internal audit activity for the 100-year-old company that employs more than 500 people.
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About the CIA
As the only globally recognized certification for internal auditors and The IIA’s flagship credential for more than 40 years, the CIA sets the standard for excellence in the profession. Learn more.