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Certified Information Systems Auditor, CISA Certification: Details on Examination and Certification for Certified Information Systems Auditors

Written by AnonymousSeptember 17, 2011
Certified Information Systems Auditor

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

Introduction to Certified Information Systems Auditor Certification

Information systems auditors are responsible for making sure a company’s information technology systems are serving their purpose and operating effectively. Because computers are often the primary means of performing many important business tasks, companies need to employ information systems auditors to:

  • Ensure that data output is accurate and uncompromised
  • Test the effectiveness of the information system’s internal control design
  • Supervise security protocols and ensure that assets are properly safeguarded
  • Perform financial statement audits using appropriate technology

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a professional credential issued by ISACA (formerly the Information Systems Audit and Control Association). The credential is designed for audit, control, and security professionals with significant work experience in the field. Earning the CISA designation demonstrates that your auditing skills are in line with ISACA’s standards of professional excellence, and has the potential to:

  • Demonstrate that you have highly regarded systems auditing skills and are well trained in information technology systems
  • Open up opportunities for career advancement in a growing field
  • Increase your earning potential
  • Enhance your credibility among employers

Key Steps to Certified Information Systems Auditor Certification

In order to become CISA certified, you must:

  • Pass the CISA exam
  • Comply with ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics and Information Systems Auditing Standards
  • Have a minimum of five years of documented information systems auditing, control, or security work experience, completed within the last ten years or up to five years after passing the exam

Details of the Certified Information Systems Auditor Exam

The CISA exam is administered at testing centers around the world in June and December. The four-hour test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions about tasks typically performed as an information systems auditor. The content is distributed as follows:

  • The process of auditing information systems (14 percent of the exam)
  • Governance and management of information technology (14 percent of the exam)
  • Information systems acquisition, development, and implementation (19 percent of the exam)
  • Information systems operations, maintenance, and support (23 percent of the exam)
  • Protection of information assets (30 percent of the exam)

As of 2011 if you register before the early registration deadline (August 17), the exam costs $375 for ISACA members and $515 for non-members.  If you register by the final registration deadline (October 5), the exam costs $425 for ISACA members and $565 for non-members.

You have the option of registering for the exam online, via fax, or by mail, but registering online saves you $50. The fees listed reflect those for online registration.

Preparing for the Certified Information Systems Auditor Exam

Because the CISA test is designed to reflect knowledge learned on the job, having significant information systems auditing work experience is the primary means of preparing for the exam. However, ISACA offers additional online and in person resources to help you study, including:

  • Print and electronic study materials, such as primary references, publications, articles, and journals
  • Online learning courses via ISACA’s eLearning Campus
  • Live, instructor-led review courses, held at local ISACA chapters
  • A CISA exam preparation community message board
  • Terminology lists and content outlines

Maintaining the Certified Information Systems Auditor Designation

To maintain your CISA certification, you’re required to:

  • Submit an annual maintenance fee, which is $40 for ISACA members and $85 for non-members as of 2011
  • Comply with ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics and IT Auditing Standards
  • Complete 120 continuing professional education (CPE) hours in each three-year reporting period, with a minimum of 20 hours earned per year.

In order to qualify, CPE activities must be relevant to information systems auditing, control, security, or management and must contribute to your professional development. Acceptable activities include:

  • Attend professional society (including ISACA) meetings
  • Participate in ISACA’s professional education courses
  • Enroll in subject related self-study courses
  • Deliver vendor sales or marketing presentations
  • Provide educational instruction as a teacher or lecturer
  • Publish articles, monographs, and books
  • Develop or review CISA exam questions
  • Work on ISACA boards and committees
  • Contribute to the information systems auditing profession through research, peer reviews, certification review manual development, and so on
  • Mentor or provide career guidance to a peer

You should retain all documentation of your CPE activities for at least a year after your report them since ISACA performs random audits of certificate holders to monitor compliance with the requirement.

Governing Board Information

CISA® certification is issued by:

3701 Algonquin Road, Suite 1010
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008