Certification Spotlight: Joe Lynch, CIA – Lead by Example
Joe Lynch, CIA
Director, Internal Audit at one of the world’s largest specialty technical services companies
1. What prompted you to become certified?
As a CAE, I thought it was appropriate to lead by example. It did not seem proper to ask auditors to obtain their CIA if I did not have this certification myself.
2. Did your organization fund your exam fees or preparation materials? If yes, was it the corporate culture or did you have to sell the value of certification?
The company paid for all exam fees and preparation materials as part of its culture of ongoing employee development.
3. How many of your colleagues are certified?
The only other internal audit associate at my company is also certified.
4. How does having an IIA certification set you apart from your noncertified peers?
I believe it demonstrates a commitment to the profession and to personal improvement.
5. How did you prepare for the exam?
I initially took The IIA’s practice exam with no advance preparation to see where I needed some additional focus; I passed (Part) 1 easily; (Part) 2 was a borderline pass; and (part) 3 was a dismal failure. Recognizing this, I began my work on (Part) 3, spent 70 hours of study on it, and was relieved once it was over! After decades of being out of school, I actually found the process of studying to be fun as well as educational, and the time expended did not seem arduous. The momentum of passing the most difficult part of the exam kept me motivated during my study of the other parts.
6. How has your certification helped your career?
Not that this was premeditated, but when I subsequently decided to leave my last employer, I was able to leverage the effort made to obtain the CIA as a point of differentiation when interviewing for my next job. Both the CEO (hiring manager) and audit committee chair were impressed by (my) late-career motivation.
7. What advice do you have for others who are seeking certification?
It is easy to find excuses to delay taking action; I only waited 30 years to do this! However, in looking back over my career and considering that job interviews are mostly about selling and differentiation, one should expect to gain a decided advantage, if properly marketed, when competing for internal audit positions against others who have not obtained this certification.
IIA–Houston member Joe Lynch, CIA, has more 25 years of internal audit experience, mostly with publicly traded, middle market, capital intensive service companies. Lynch started four internal audit functions from scratch, and re-energized three others. Over a 20-year period, each audit function generated returns on their costs of 100%-500% per year.