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Entry-level b4 internal audit vs. entry-level b4 external audit, IA's salary is 15% higher, what would you choose?

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External audit has way better exit ops including other service lines like advisory

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I did B4 internal audit for 3 years and hated it, as did everyone else in my department. The exit ops are non-existant unless you want to do IA. External audit will give you more options, like corp accounting, financial reporting, FP&A, even IA. Or pivot into FDD/AAS for more exit ops. Do not get tricked into thinking IA is "consulting" because that is how it is marketed to new hires. You will get paid slightly more and work less, but in exchange you'll be pigeonholed into IA. Trust me, everyone in my group was trying to leave or transfer out (with little luck). IA is already a very boring job, but doing IA for a PA firm is even worse. At least in industry IA, you have good WLB and will see more operational audits and process improvement. In PA, you are doing whatever work the client wants to outsource. Guess what's typically getting outsourced? The crappy and terrible controls and SOX work. I got lucky and got to do a couple operational audits. They are way better than controls and SOX work, but tbh they are like a Walmart version of consulting. People in IA hype them up but they are honestly not that great; IA folks just need something to look forward to. Audit may suck for many reasons, but it is a way better path than IA. My spouse was in audit so I have a general understanding of what goes on there.

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KP1 you are correct about all the assumptions. SM1 thanks for sharing your thoughts too. I really agree that everyone has a different path. External audit may open up more opportunities but IA is definitely not a dead end. What both of you said is helpful for me to evaluate the two offers.

External. Internal audit is a career killer, limited exit ops and slow career progression. B4 external audit opens up other service lines with a few years of experience, I’ve doubled my salary in three years after moving to FDD

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Depends on your goals. External audit is rough to say the least. They may have better exit ops but that comes at a cost on the front end if you last. It’s lower pay and a lot more hours.

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I've been doing IA for 12 years and enjoy it. I've been at 2 firms and one role in industry. I hate SOX and won't touch that work with a ten foot pole but IA/controls consulting has gotten me some really fascinating high profile projects and I've done some very cool travel. So... my vote would be IA.

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If you know you are only going to be doing SOX, I vote go with the audit offer or find another firm.

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