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Syllabus - what you will learn

The IIA Certificate comprises four awards. Two are core subjects, then you can choose two additional options.  

Core IIA awards:

  1. Corporate governance and risk management
  2. Internal audit planning and assurance framework 

Optional IIA awards:

  1. Effective delivery of audit and assurance
  2. Interpersonal skills for audit and assurance
  3. Compliance audit and assurance

The aims and outcomes of each award are described below. 

You will also complete a personal development log for each award and one professional experience record to complete the programme. 

Corporate governance and risk management

Aims and objectives 

Learn about the essential characteristics of corporate governance and risk management, and the contribution they make to organisational effectiveness.

This award will help you recognise the importance of assurance and its role in internal control. The key principles of risk management and internal control and the processes of risk identification and analysis will be examined closely, together with a consideration of embedded monitoring and independent assurance.   

Learning outcomes 

 By the end of this IIA award you will be better able to: 

  • describe the historical development of corporate governance and its significance to organisations
  • identify the key characteristics of corporate governance including the role of internal audit and assurance within it
  • explain the key principles of risk management and the processes by which it is implemented
  • outline the methods used in risk identification and analysis
  • identify and explain risk treatment strategies
  • assess the relative benefits of embedded monitoring and independent assurance
  • explain the principles and mechanisms used in internal control. 

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Internal audit planning and assurance framework 

Aims and objectives

Understand the framework within which internal controls and assurance are set. It will help you understand the nature of internal control and the need for assurance, and thereby your contribution to the overall effectiveness of corporate governance and risk management.

It will help you to appreciate the importance of internal control to the success of an organisation and its routine operations by focussing on the risks, the suitability of the controls in place, the reliability of reporting and the level of compliance with regulation and legislation.

Learning outcomes 

By the end of this IIA award you will be better able to: 

  • explain the purpose of and approaches used by internal audit
  • identify the features of the framework in which internal audit and assurance operate
  • outline the stages involved in a risk based approach to audit planning and engagement
  • identify and maintain effective audit documentation
  • design an appropriate audit testing programme
  • assess audit evidence
  • report audit findings in an appropriate format
  • conduct effective follow up work.

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Effective delivery of audit and assurance

Aims and objectives

Learn how to contribute to the effective delivery of audit objectives and continuous improvement of the audit function. This includes an assessment of the types of service that audit can offer, effective utilisation and scheduling of audit resources, guidance on establishing monitoring and marketing arrangements, working to key performance indicators and tailoring these to the needs of respective audiences, providing assurance to clients expectations and adding value to the organisation.

In addition, the award includes a section on working in a team where you are encouraged to consider your own working styles and capabilities as a team member. This section also includes discussion of the impact on the team of the contemporary issue of use of co-sourcing arrangements and contract workers.

There is also an on-going focus on the relationship between the auditor and their key clients and how this can be enhanced. 

Overall, this award should help you to establish strong relationships with audit clients as well as provide a better understanding of your role in actively supporting and implementing change. 

Learning outcomes 

 By the end of this IIA award you will be better able to: 

  • determine which audit services are appropriate for your clients
  • manage audit assignments and resources through effective use of planning tools and other techniques
  • develop an effective audit monitoring programme
  • use marketing techniques to promote the audit function
  • work to key performance indicators that enable audit performance to be measured and evaluated
  • understand how assurance is provided to key audit clients
  • operate effectively within a team
  • maximise the value delivered to audit clients. 

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Interpersonal skills for audit and assurance

Aims and objectives

This award will help understand and apply effective interpersonal skills in the workplace. Interpersonal skills are the skills people use when they interact with one another. This involves communicating with others, using the powers of persuasion to influence them, or being assertive as necessary to make a point. Negotiation and influencing skills are crucial to achieving desired goals and building strong relationships.

Effective writing skills convey a credible message and project a professional image. The role of someone providing assurance on internal controls requires them to interact successfully with different levels and functional groups to accomplish their objectives, and so effective interpersonal skills are an essential element in enabling them to fulfil that role.

This IIA award explores the use of tools, techniques and exercises to assess one's won interpersonal skills and identify personal strengths and areas where one would like to improve. This includes identifying the barriers that may exist and how these could be removed. Participants will be encouraged to reflect upon their experiences and share ideas during the course. 

There is an on-going focus on the positive and negative effects that poor interpersonal skills can have on those they have contact with, and the impression it creates for departments. 

Overall, this award will help you to explore and improve your interpersonal skills, with an emphasis on building sustainable working relationships.  

Learning outcomes

By the end of the IIA award you will be better able to: 

  • understand the importance of developing and sustaining effective business relationships
  • implement the principles for effective communication, including non verbal communication
  • develop and apply effective listening skills
  • apply effective questioning strategies for dealing with challenging situations
  • develop and apply influencing skills
  • apply negotiation skills to achieve positive outcomes
  • manage conflict and resolve discrepancies
  • develop and deliver powerful presentations.

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Compliance audit and assurance 

Aims and objectives

Understand the purpose of compliance auditing and carry out such audits for a client. The programme describes how compliance auditors can satisfy the requirement to examine and evaluate defined activities of an enterprise (internal or external) in order to measure adherence to legal, regulatory or contractual standards.

It includes an overview of the kinds of compliance teams and how compliance audits contribute to governance. Attention is also given to the importance of client relationships as part of the process of planning and delivering compliance audits. Detailed focus is given to the methods used for testing, for gathering evidence and for evaluating findings and assurance.  

Learning outcomes 

By the end of this IIA award you will be better able to:

  • describe the role and purpose of compliance auditing and how it differs from other types of audit
  • manage effective relationships with compliance audit clients and other assurance providers
  • create an effective annual compliance plan for an organisation or division
  • produce a plan for an individual compliance audit
  • develop and deliver a compliance test programme
  • collate and document evidence gathered from compliance auditing
  • evaluate audit findings. 

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Personal development log

The purpose of the personal development log is to confirm that you have reflected on the learning gained from an individual IIA award workshop and have identified how you might apply that learning to your professional practice. It is designed to record:

  • your personal objectives prior to the workshop
  • your reflections on the pre-workshop reading
  • your thoughts on the workshop and the extent to which it met your objectives
  • your reflections on the post-workshop reading
  • your plan of how you intend to apply your learning to professional practice
  • any further training and development you feel would be of benefit to you. 

You should make a separate application for each individual award.


There are four main sections:

  • declaration of applicant
  • pre-workshop reading and preparation
  • post-workshop review
  • post-workshop reading and implementation. 

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Professional experience record

This is a record of your activity in four key areas of internal auditing and business risk. You will choose four from the following: 

  • audit/operational engagement
  • audit/operational scope and the audit plan
  • recording information and reporting on an audit operation
  • audit/operational testing
  • audit evidence
  • corporate governance
  • risk identification and analysis
  • risk management strategies

Your record should demonstrate how the training has had an effect on your work and it might include examples of audits you have undertaken.

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Join the IIA to study

Before you can start to study for the IIA Certificate, you need to join the IIA as an affiliate member. 


Please get in touch with any questions - we are very happy to help. Contact us on 020 7498 0101 or email