Ara Kurazyan, CIA, CCSA, CFSA, CGAP, CRMA
IIA Institute/Chapter Affiliation: IIA–Armenia
1. What prompted you to become certified?
The primary role herein played my personal character. In approaching any case with any environment, system, or relationship, I attempt to understand and estimate the recognized high quality criteria and best practice within it and try to reach and comply with these abilities and skills.
So when I moved from external/financial audit to internal audit, I became a member of The IIA. After a while, I completed my CIA designation requirements.
2. If you hold multiple IIA designations, what order did you earn them in and why?
Along with my CIA preparation, I started thinking of the CCSA certification to be able to conduct self-assessment. Then I returned to my educational and past work experience background — finance — so the next certification was the Certified Financial Services Auditor designation. Involvement in several governmental/NGOs related to auditing projects and risk assessment services gave me the idea to complete the remaining two IIA certifications as well.
3. 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?
I always thought that I am responsible for my professional development. That is why I never asked for support from my organization. The value of skills and knowledge received is much higher than the actual cost.
4. How many of your colleagues are certified?
I am the only CIA in our company. When I applied for IIA certification, it was difficult to find certified peers. Now, as chairman of the education and qualification committee of our local IIA chapter, I’m trying to support the involvement of colleagues and specialists in the certification processes. This will only improve the prestige of the profession.
5. How does having an IIA certification set you apart from your non-certified peers?
There are lots of statistical and analytical published materials on salaries, positions held, requirements, and other matters that show the differentiation among certified and noncertified peers.
The full package of my IIA certifications (CIA, CCSA, CFSA, CGAP, CRMA) along with my other certifications (CRISC, CFE) are a strong basis for getting professional development and having a competitive advantage in both the business and the professional community.
6. How did you prepare for the exam?
The first step of my preparation was joining The IIA. It gave me an understanding on the fundamental approach of the internal audit profession. Then I did a little research and I bought study materials and spent time studying, especially focusing on my weaker areas through testing. An exception from this was only one seminar in which I took part because it was a mandatory requirement to earn the CCSA certification.
7. How has your certification helped your career?
My involvement in the certification process was my own initiative to develop my skills and knowledge. However, these efforts brought results through my career development, job opportunities, and professional leadership. I believe that professional development should be nonstop and inevitably will help to sustain career development. The invitations, offers, and requests I have received from different countries since attaining these achievements are evidence of it.
8. What advice do you have for others who are seeking certification?
My advice to candidates pursuing certification or thinking about it is to pay attention to one specific benefit apart from the potential earnings or position advancements. It’s the certification process that gives candidates who successfully pass the commitment to the profession and professional colleagues.
Ara is a senior auditor in Deloitte’s Audit Services team in Yerevan office and is responsible for tax and legal services. He has almost two decades of experience in internal and external audits, financial management, and consulting services.
Ara moved to Deloitte from the Supervisory Division of the Central Bank of Armenia. Before Deloitte, Ara’s work experience also included practice at Pernod Ricard subsidiary YBC; chief audit executive at external audit firm Credo-Audit cjsc; partner, financial institution and bank board member; as well as an expert for PWC on rendering external financial, IFRS, U.S. GAAP, internal audit, control, tax, legal, and merger and acquisition services.