I had the great pleasure of attending my local Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) meeting this last week where Larry Harrington, the Chief Audit Executive (CAE) of Raytheon, and the current Chairman of the Board for IIA spoke.  Larry’s theme for this year is “Invest in Yourself” and I was struck by how simple, and yet how powerful is this simple message.


Why do we need to invest in ourselves?

Larry introduced us to the “Did You Know” video series on YouTube (see link below) that shows how the world is changing much faster than we probably realize.  I took the time to watch video and found some amazing facts:

  • Today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38
  • We are preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet, with technologies that haven’t even been invented
  • More than 4,000 books are published each day
  • The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years

It should be obvious, in today’s information age, that a college education is not sufficient to have a successful career.  In fact, a college education is practically obsolete as soon as one graduates.  It is just the entry fee to get into the professional world.

Without a continuous investment in our own knowledge, skills, and competencies we risk becoming irrelevant in just a few short years.

Certification is one of the ways we differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.  For us to advance in our careers it is often necessary for us to obtain individual certifications.

Here is a video from The IIA’s auditchannel.tv where Steve Jameson, CIA, CCSA, CRMA, CFSA, explains the importance of earning a professional certification. “Certifications have enhanced my team’s credibility in front of our audit committee,” he says. At Community Trust Bank, entry-level staff are encouraged to obtain a professional certification, and certification is required for promotion to a senior audit level.



How do we invest in ourselves?

It is necessary to continue our education by reading, researching, taking continuing education classes, and getting professional certifications.

One of the reasons most professional certifications require a minimum number of continuing professional education (CPE) each year is we must stay current to stay relevant.  If we are not constantly learning and progressing, we are falling behind.

The reality is though, the 40 minimum CPE most certification require is nowhere near enough to stay ahead of the information changes.  The Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) study by IIA shows most individual auditors only average between 21-40 hours of CPE each year.

This is not nearly enough as a professional, and as individuals, if we expect to be relevant to our organization.

Randall Stephenson, the chief executive and chairman of AT&T said:

“There is a need to retool yourself, and you should not expect to stop,” he said in a recent interview with the New York Times at AT&T’s Dallas headquarters. People who do not spend five to 10 hours a week in online learning, he added, “will obsolete themselves with the technology.”

We have to invest more than 40 hours a year of CPE in our professional development.


What if my employer won’t pay for my training?

I hear this all too often.  When the economy contracts, one of the first expense line items to get cut is training.  It is a very short-sighted, and unfortunate view many organizations take.  More organizations should take the view of Sir Richard Branson “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

If your employer will not pay for your continuing education than you need to pay for it yourself.  That is if you value your professional development and career advancement.  Nobody will take a more active role in helping you develop yourself than you.  If you don’t make the effort on your own, why should your organization?

As organizations and individuals we should not view training as a period cost expense, but should instead should consider it an investment amortized over future periods.

Warren Buffet has said “Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.”

The IIA has consistently seen in its compensation studies that internal auditors with certification earn up to 25% or more than internal auditors without certification.  How much would you be willing to invest in yourself for a 25% increase in salary for the rest of your career?

If you would like to increase your earning potential, take the time and effort to get certified.


Invest in Yourself

Investing in ourselves is one thing I am passionate about.  Over my career I have benefited from my own professional development, and reaped the benefits of higher compensation and progressive career advancement.  Some of that was paid for by my employer, but much of my overall investment in myself was paid for directly by me.  I am living proof that when we invest in ourselves, we reap the long-term benefit in our career.

In fact, I am so passionate about helping people take their careers to the next level that I started my own training and coaching business.  My way of giving back and helping others take their careers to the next level.

It’s not always easy, but when we take the time and money to invest in ourselves, we reap the benefits for the rest of our careers.

So take time now to determine what additional training you need in your career, what certifications you need.  Make a plan, and get registered now.  Don’t put it off or you risk being left behind.


On-line and In-person Training



On-line CIA Exam Preparation Course



Did You Know Video – 2016 Version


Gearing Up for the Cloud, AT&T Tells Its Workers: Adapt, or Else



The IIA 2014 Internal Audit Compensations Study Executive Summary



Auditor Certification Why Is It Important?



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