Updated June 14, 2023
Difference Between CISA vs CIA
“Certifications Courses,” / “Advancement in the career,”/ “Growth and success in the workplace” are general points that cross our minds while we are determined to provide the best shape to our future. These are some of the things we need to decide very carefully to achieve a positive outcome.
There are various certification courses available which makes it difficult to decide at once. However, one must think carefully while making decisions about the systems and the stream they tend to be part of. One must invest money, time, and hard work to seek certification. Does such a scenario usually cause the rising of questions like should I pursue CISA or CIA? Would it be more beneficial if I appeared for both exams? Both CISA and CIA are courses related to the audit and control field. Both the CISA and CIA hold significant importance in the industry. Receiving complete details about the certification would aid in selecting the course.
What is CISA and CIA?
The Certified Information Systems Auditor’s certification is handed out by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). The accreditation of CISA is recognized globally in the audit, control field, and security of information systems. The certification criteria are constant and have high visibility in IT audit, security, governance, and risk management. The CISA certification is often mandatory during the vacancies in these sectors as the certification guides employers in hiring auditors who are highly skilled in assessing and measuring IT controls. It also affirms that the applicant possesses a strong baseline and auditing skills. The failure rate associated with this exam is relatively high. To obtain the certification, the candidate has to pass the examination that consists of sections on the topics amongst others:
- Auditing techniques and practices
- Reporting techniques and control objectives
- Gathering and maintaining the evidence in forensic investigations
The applicant is eligible for the exam if they have experience in one of the information systems of expertise out of six. A minimum experience of five years is necessary. In addition, to it, the applicant should be willing to sign and meet the terms associated with the Code of Professional Ethics in ISACA.
The Institute of Internal Auditor’s mission is to offer global leadership in internal auditing. The CIA certification has set the standards for brilliance in the work. CIA certification is segmented into 3 parts. The focus of the certification throughout the course is on the International standards for practicing internal auditing, which has professional features of mandatory guidance under the IPPF of the IIA. The focus throughout the journey is on managing the internal audit project and concluding the concepts related to internal risk, control, governance, and technology. The procedure of certification in CIA is to establish foundational core and Initial growth in the career to:
- Determine your skills with the staff and the clients.
- Discriminating you from your peers.
- Enhance your knowledge of best practices in the industry.
- Exhibit your professionalism and proficiency.
- Lay a base for continued advancement and improvement.
A certified internal auditor can apply for an Internal Audit Practitioner designation. The certification allows you to demonstrate your aptitude in internal audit quickly.
Head to Head Comparison between CISA vs CIA (Infographics)
Below are the top 7 comparisons between CISA vs CIA:
Which Certification is better to strengthen your core CISA or CIA?
The frequently asked question among the applicants is whether CIA or CISA. The difference between both certifications can be summarized in short as CISA is for specialists while the CIA is for generalists. Both courses have their limitations and qualities. The CIA certification would cost approximately $ 1,500 or more. At the same time, the CISA certification would cost about $ 1000. Additional costs might occur during the training due to the books and prep courses.
CISA vs CIA Certification
Does the question still remain the same which certification would be good to have? The CISA or CIA? If planning for both, then which one should be taken first? The CISA certification is of high standards for IT auditors. You must be aware of auditing basics and have little knowledge of IT. IT auditors get the certification to be in the field, while Non-It auditors get it to get into IT auditing. The CISA comprises 1 exam, encompassing membership for 1 year of ISACA. With a strong background and experience, one can prepare and have the certification within 6 months to a year, making it a good return on investment. At the same time, the CIA is a broader certification and is associated with 3 examinations. The certification covers auditing and IT at a broader level. Unlike the CISA, the CIA is more related to general auditing than IT. You must pass all the 3 exams within the duration of 4 years from the time of the first exam. It would generally take 1 to 2 years to appear in all the 3 CIA exams. The CIA is respected more than CISA due to its broader nature. The CIA exam is harder in comparison to CISA. Moreover, one thing to consider is that IT auditors are generally paid more than Non-IT auditors.
Plus, points about CIA
It is a good option if you aim to be an internal auditor; however, you are not certain about the specialization in which area, your preference for management, or the general role of internal auditing within a corporation. If it is paired up with CPA, then it is a great arrangement for a senior position as CAE or head of internal audit. It is beneficial only if you look after breaking in the IT audit. The overall duration of the 3 part CIA certification course is 1 to 2 years.
Significant facts about CISA
The CISA certification is for high standards of IT auditing. If you are more into the nature of the job of IT audit and you consider that the future of auditing is more related to technology-based audit, then give it a shot. The scope is narrower, and the examination consists of only one part. The practical benefit of seeking certification in CISA is it is easier, and the process of examination is faster. The course is a short-term consideration, yet it is affordable.
Strict professional and academic criteria are essential for the candidates tending to apply for the CIAS and CIA certifications.
CIA Certification Eligibility: The CIA needs a graduation degree in accounting or finance and at least one year of
Experience in auditing or equivalent fields such as accounting or bookkeeping. A senior auditor requires a verified knowledge of about 5 to 7 years.
CISA Certification Eligibility: The candidate applying for CISA must have minimum experience in information systems expertise. The candidate must have experience working at least 4000 hours in a full-time position in information systems, controls, and security experience. The candidate can have an alternative experience for a maximum of 1 year in security, auditing, and management. The instructors in the university can substitute the one-year experience required in auditing, control, and security with the two years of experience as a full-time educator.
How is it to Consider the CIA and CISA together?
The value of the CIA and the specialization in CISA have excellent worth. However, the efforts required for CIA exams are very high. The CISA exam requires minimal effort as that of the CIA. One could easily pass the CISA exam if you have already appeared for the CIA.
However, pursuing the course the other way around is less proper. You want to be an IT auditor, so you took the CISA exam later; if you plan to appear for the CIA, it would add little value.
The professional standards increase with the certification—the reliability of the employee upsurge in the job market. Competitive advantage could be obtained by being a qualified certificate holder. The certificate holder could escalate the value of the organization. An individual is more likely to have a higher salary being a specialized professional in auditing. A CISA certificate holder earns more than a jobseeker with a CIA certificate. The wage and spot largely depend on the industry, the company, and your role.
How to be Certified in CISA or CIA?
The applicant who tends to seek the certification in CISA or CIA certification to have an influential post in the auditing field needs to appear for the examination conducted under the course. Upon completing the course and succeeding in the review, the individual is handed the certificate stating the grades obtained in the exam. The aspirant appearing for the exam need to meet the following requirements:
1. Completion of the examination successfully
The CISA and CIA certification examination can be attended by individuals interested in the audit field and encouraged to take it as a profession. The applicant who needs the credential in the same as to apply for the certification will be sent all information and notified with a passing score.
2. Submission of application for the certification of CISA or CIA
Once the aspirant passes the certification exam and meets the requirements of work experience and everything is sorted, the final step is to complete and submit the application for certification. The certification exam can be attended before meeting the requirements of experience, but the designation will be awarded only if all the needs are met.
3. Dedication to the Code of Ethics of Professionalism
The ISACA for CIAS and IIA’s or CIA certificate follow the code of ethics of professionalism to instruct professionalism and personal behavior in the corporate industry.
4. Determined to continue the Professional Training Agendas
Continuing the professional training program is about updating the knowledge and skills in auditing. The qualified certificate holders who have met the certification requirements help differentiate between the fit and non-qualified auditors. With professional training, the candidate can obtain the mechanism for auditing and maintain competency in the field.
5. Compliance with the Standards of Auditing
The candidates with the CIAS or CIA designation agree to follow the ISACA and IIA standards for the respective certification courses.
6. Preparations for the exam
The aspirant appearing for the CIAS or CIA certification course examination needs to prepare for the exams with complete determination. The reviews are harsh, and not everyone can clear the exam on the first attempt. They are taking the tests and following the curriculum of the course.
7. Take the Exam
Appear the exam with confidence and complete preparation. Do your best in the examination; if you cannot clear it in the first shot, try to give a second attempt. Once you remove the exam, you can pursue the profession of IT-based auditor with CIAS and an Internal auditor with the CIA.
The CISA vs CIA certification is a small means of shaping career aspects of life. Prospering professionally is essential to lead a better life. The certification courses and upgrading knowledge are easy ways to do the same. Seeking certification in the desired field of the stream will enhance your skills and help you adjust according to the needs of the industry. Complete the certification process in the stated duration of time as per the exam’s criteria. Select an appropriate certification that suits your job profile and provides maximum benefits.
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