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Certified Government Auditing Professional, CGAP Certification: Details on Examination and Certification for Certified Government Auditing Professionals

Written by AnonymousSeptember 17, 2011

If you’re looking to improve your career in accounting, obtaining an accounting certificate is an excellent first step. Accounting certifications can expand your accounting knowledge and increase your proficiency in a specific area of the accounting field.

Introduction to Certified Government Auditing Professional Certification

Auditors are responsible for examining a company or organization’s financial information in order to determine its validity and accuracy. Along with this primary duty, internal auditors may also be in charge of other tasks, including:

  • Reviewing internal control systems to ensure integrity
  • Risk assessment of a company’s investments and holdings
  • Fund accounting
  • Managing grants
  • Legislative oversight matters
  • Supervision of confidentiality rights and responsibilities

The Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) Certification is a professional distinction for internal auditing practitioners who work in the public sector and specialize in governmental auditing, at any level. CGAP certification offers many advantages, such as:

  • An assurance to hiring firms that you have excellent knowledge of government auditing procedures and policies.
  • Increased opportunities for job growth within the field of auditing
  • Professional affirmation that you have strong auditing skills and are knowledgeable in generally accepted audit procedures and practices

Steps to Certified Government Auditing Professional Certification

In order to qualify for CGAP certification, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or an associate’s degree plus five years of government work experience
  • Submit a Character Reference Form signed by a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, or CFSA representative or your supervisor
  • Have two years of auditing experience in the public sector, substantiated by a completed Experience Verification Form
  • You must also pay an application fee, which, as of 2011, is $75 for IIA members and $100 for non-members.

You can still apply to the program and take the CGAP exam if you haven’t met all of these requirements, but your certification will be withheld until all the necessary education and work experience has been completed.

Though the IIA doesn’t require that you register as a member in order to earn the CGAP certification, membership does offer some advantages, such as reduced exam fees, discounts on review materials, and opportunities for professional networking.

Details of the Certified Government Auditing Professional Exam

Becoming certified is dependent on passing the CGAP exam, which contains 125 multiple-choice questions and lasts three hours and fifteen minutes. The exam is designed to test your knowledge of government audit practices as set forth by the following industry groups:

  • The IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practices of Internal Auditing
  • The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)
  • Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS)

The exam is divided into four domains or sections, each focusing on a different subject area:

  • Domain I – Standards, governance, and risk/control frameworks (10 to 20 percent of the exam)
  • Domain II – Government auditing practice (35 to 45 percent of the exam)
  • Domain III- Government auditing skills and techniques (20 to 25 percent of the exam)
  • Domain IV – Government auditing environment (20 to 25 percent of the exam)

As of 2011, the fee for taking the exam is $325 for IIA members and $375 for non-members. If you must reschedule your exam date, you will have to pay a $50 fee, whether or not you’re an IIA member.

Preparing for the Certified Government Auditing Professional Exam

Studying for the exam is a self-paced process with a number of different options available for learning the subject material:

  • Study the IIA-published CGAP official Study Guide, available for purchase on their website
  • Review general books on government auditing procedures and best practices
  • Answer sample questions provided on the  IIA website
  • Sign up for online review courses
  • Sign up for in classroom courses offered at leading graduate schools and universities 

Maintaining the Certified Government Auditing Professional Designation

The IIA believes that certification-holders should constantly refresh their knowledge and skills in order to keep up with the ever-changing developments in the internal auditing field. Because of this, the CGAP recertification process is built around a rigorous continuing professional education (CPE) requirement.

The number of CPE hours required to maintain your certification varies depending on whether you’re currently working as a government auditor. In general, you must complete a total of 40 CPE hours every two years to maintain your CGAP certificate. .

In order to qualify, CPE activities must be formal learning programs that contribute directly to your professional competence.

At least ten of the required CPE hours must be earned by participating in  a formal education  activity. Approved educational activities include:

  • Professional continuing education and development programs offered by accounting organizations
  • Technical sessions at an accounting organization’s chapter meetings
  • Formal in-house training programs offered by your employer
  • Educational programs sponsored by industrial or professional societies in your area
  • Successful completion of a suitable college or university course
  • Passing other certification examinations
  • Self-study programs designed to self-assess your accounting knowledge

Additionally, you can choose from a number of other approved activities that fulfill the requirement, such as:

  • Reading suggested published  books, articles, research papers, and training materials
  • Delivering oral presentations to your peers on a government auditing subject matter
  • Participating as an officer or committee member in a government auditing-related professional organization

Passing the CGAP exam gives you an automatic 20 hours of CPE credit in your first year.

In 2010 the IIA added a requirement, which established that you must review or receive training on its International Standards some time during the reporting period.

Though the IIA doesn’t require that you submit supporting documentation along with your CPE hours reporting form, you should keep all records handy, as the IIA can request documentation at any time to ensure compliance with the requirement.

Governing Board Information

CGAP® certification is issued by:

The Institute of Internal Auditors
247 Maitland Ave.
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701