The Institute of Internal Auditors – UK and Ireland is unique in the global family in offering its own professional qualifications in place of the CIA. Within UK and Ireland the recognised internal audit qualifications are:
- IIA Diploma in Internal Audit Practice (leading to the PIIA designation)
- IIA Advanced Diploma in Internal Auditing and Management (leading to the MIIA designation)
The IIA Diploma is the primary professional qualification for practising internal auditors and provides a comprehensive grasp of the requirements for practitioners operating in accordance with the International Professional Practices Framework. It sets internal audit in the context of organisational structures and corporate governance and covers financial risks and controls, information systems auditing, risk management, risk-based internal auditing, the development and significance of corporate governance, management and organisational theory, and communications skills such as negotiation, making presentations, interview techniques and report writing.
The IIA Advanced Diploma builds upon the learning and experience of the practitioner stage and provides insights at a strategic level, enabling the internal auditor to appreciate the contribution of internal audit in its widest scope in adding value to all aspects of organisational activity. In particular it focuses on leadership, analysis of the internal and external environment, strategy development and implementation, organisational change, and financial management. The final examination is made through an integrative case study that covers the whole syllabus. The IIA Advanced Diploma also prepares candidates for senior and management roles. Entry to the IIA Advanced Diploma is open to holders of the PIIA designation only.
Each qualification comprises a number of theory modules (five for the IIA Diploma, four for the IIA Advanced Diploma) that are assessed by a formal three hour examination requiring candidates to respond to unseen scenario-based questions and case studies. Soft skills and professional competencies are assessed through a Professional Experience Journal prior to the award of the designatory letters. Both qualifications have been externally benchmarked as being at postgraduate level and earn students credits towards a Masters degree (up to two-thirds of a full Masters).
Exemptions are offered for some modules based on attainment of other postgraduate level academic or professional qualifications. A fasttrack route to the PIIA designation is available for those with a minimum of three years professional experience internal auditing and a relevant professional qualification. Recognition of prior learning through a formal accreditation process (Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)) is also available for any candidate with five years or more experience.
Extension modules are available to the professional qualifications open to holders of the PIIA, MIIA or CIA designations. The first one of these to be introduced is the IIA IT Auditing Certificate (ITAC). Unlike other qualifications available, ITAC is uniquely designed for internal auditors to the standards contained within the IPPF. Rather than placing IT audit as a fringe activity for IT specialists, ITAC enables the professional internal auditor to apply their unique expertise in internal audit, assurance, project management and consultancy to the complex environment of information systems and technology. Other advanced certificates are planned for introduction in the future.