Seth Peterson, CIA, CRMA
Senior Auditor Manager
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Member, IIA–Sioux Falls
1. What prompted you to become certified?
My boss and mentor was a driving force to my interest in becoming certified. I knew if I wanted to set myself apart and demonstrate my commitment to the profession, then I would need to pursue the CIA designation. I had never had a designation before, so I thought it would be something that shows I have expertise in a certain field. I also thought holding the designation would give me more credibility when dealing with management.
2. If you hold multiple IIA designations, what order did you earn them in and why?
I decided to earn the CIA first as it is the flagship certification provided by The IIA. As the only globally recognized certification for internal auditors, I felt this certification provided the best opportunity to develop my audit skills, further my professional development, and demonstrate my commitment to the profession. Approximately two years after I obtained the CIA designation, The IIA launched the CRMA program. Since so much of my work involves risk management principles, this was a natural certification to pursue next.
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?
My organization funded the exam fees and preparation materials. The culture is very supportive of the certification and the value that goes along with certifications. One of the core values of the organization is to “help others succeed.” This value is clearly demonstrated by the support of individuals wanting to become certified.
4. How many of your colleagues are certified?
Two colleagues hold the CIA certification, four hold the CRMA certification, one holds a community bank compliance certification, and one holds a number of IT certifications. Approximately 50 percent of the department is certified.
5. How does having an IIA certification set you apart from your non-certified peers?
Having a certification in itself does not make you a better auditor, but it does create some opportunities. Holding a certification helps demonstrate your commitment to the profession, the company, and your investment in yourself. Certifications can help your chances for promotions, gain creditability with management, regulators, and external auditors, and can help you build confidence on your audit skills. Special Projects and Management requests are typically delegated to the auditors with the strongest skill set for an area. Holding the CIA designation helps you back up your skill set.
6. How did you prepare for the exam?
I used the Wiley and Gleim study materials. Initially, I purchased the Wiley review materials, studied the book, and answered the practice questions. Later, another member of our team was pursuing the designation and purchased the Gleim materials. These study materials included a CD with practice questions that simulated the actual exam format. I found the electronic version to be easier to use than the paper exam prep questions.
7. How has your certification helped your career?
The CIA designation helped me to become our (IIA) chapter president and serve as the Midwest District #3 representative. Both of these opportunities have allowed me to build interpersonal communication skills, leadership skills, and build on my confidence. I have had the chance to network with professionals from around the globe, and this networking has allowed me to include new techniques to several audits. The certification has helped my career progression through promotions and the ability to work on special projects and management requests, which otherwise might have been assigned to someone else if I did not hold the CIA designation.
8. What advice do you have for others who are seeking certification?
Start today. Schedule your test so you have something to look forward to. Develop a study schedule, stick to it, and reward yourself once you pass the exams. Reach out to your chapter to see if they have any additional resources available for you.
Seth Peterson is an experienced audit professional in the areas of customer service, account monitoring, regulatory compliance, Sarbanes-Oxley, internal control enhancements, and operational audits. He has managed numerous compliance audits, facilitated corrective action in response to regulatory examinations, and developed work programs for emerging technologies. Seth is The IIA’s District Representative for Midwest District #3 and was selected as a “Top 20 Auditor Under 30” in the June 2013 issue of Ia magazine.