Is Internal Audit to Fortune 500 Corporate Finance a realistic lateral move?

Hey everyone,

I accepted a job about a few months ago with Bank of America doing Internal Audit through their Corporate Audit Analyst 2 year development program and I will be starting in June after I graduate University in a few months. While I was initially excited for the opportunity to delve in to a business as a whole, after reading more and more about internal audit I am concerned I made a big mistake. I was led to believe that Internal Audit was a great pipeline to many areas in a business within a certain company (particularly corporate finance/industry since my degree is in Finance from University of Texas at Austin). Apparently that wasn’t the case since Internal Audit is seen as an exit opportunity for auditors. Now I am seriously thinking I made the wrong choice since possibility of a pigeonhole is very very possible and I don’t want that to happen!

My goal is to transition to corporate finance at a Fortune 500 company (or even at BofA) after the program is over at Bank of America. Honestly, how difficult would it be to lateral after the program was over to a Fortune 500 in their finance department (i.e: GE, Boeing, or even Bank of America)? Would internal audit experience be seen as valuable and relevant to corporate finance positions at Fortune 500 companies? Or will it be seen as useless experience therefore leaving me stuck in internal audit forever? I read a lot of not so great things on this website and WSO regarding Internal Audit so I am quite concerned!

I would greatly appreciate feedback and guidance

Hey, you can make a good six figure lifestyle with low stress in Internal Audit. But its not a path to corporate finance glory. There is certainly a risk of being pigeon holed. Its better than being unemployed though, so roll with it unless something better comes up. I’d hire a BoA Internal Auditor over an umeployed washout, all else equal.

I’m a young guy like you and so I of course do not have the real world practical experience that many on this site do, but as a person who also wishes to be in corporate finance, I can at least offer my input.

From what I learned this past Fall during all of my interviews, career fairs, company information sessions, talking to peers, etc in regards to corp. finance is this (this is atleast from an FP&A perspective. not sure specifically what area of corporate finance you are specificallly wanting)- The consensus seemed to be that true entry-level, fresh out of college FP&A jobs were few and far between, and as such, 95% of the time, in order to get into FP&A, one must gain expereince more in the accounting side of things before they are able to progess to FP&A. I would think that while internal audit might not be the best proving ground around for corp finance, youd have a much better shot than someone out of school with 0 experience. especially with a finance degree.

^ Vandy speaks the truth. If you can’t find a corporate finance job though, something in corporate reporting would be better than Internal Audit. Remember that IA is the internal police, you’re a pain in the ass to everyone and no one trusts you. Its harder to move out from there. Also its not always easy for someone to move bank to corporate. Its certainly easier than the other way around, but the skill sets are different.

If you think the dregs of society go into external auditing. You haven’t seen nothing till you’ve met an internal auditor

^ In Canada external auditors do it by necessity. It is or was the first gig for anyone in Big4 and a requirement to be a CA. Internal auditors do it by choice, making them a special kind of crazy.

Thanks for the honest responses guys. Much appreciated. What do you guys recommend I do from here on out if I really want to make the switch eventually?