Maja Milosavljevic: Achieving Greater Development, Growth, and Connection
Maja Milosavljevic, CIA, CRMA
1. What prompted you to become certified?
For me, it was interesting to learn more about an organization’s different processes and businesses, while thinking of them in a systematic way. This is how I became interested in internal auditing in the first place. Having a good mentor who ‘translated’ the requirements of The IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing into everyday work and situations was very valuable in allowing me to see how practical internal audit is. As I wanted to learn more about the internal audit profession and give more credibility to my professional work, I decided to pursue certifications.
2. What IIA certification(s) do you hold, and why did you choose to pursue it (them)? Do you plan to pursue other IIA certifications, and if so, which ones and why?
I became a Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®) in 2014 and completed the Certification in Risk Management Assurance® (CRMA®) two years later. I believe that the CIA is the basis for working and developing within the internal audit profession. It sets the stage for becoming a true professional in the internal audit area. I decided to pursue the CRMA as well because risks are part of internal audit work and having a broader understanding of risks helps me to better identify the risks and their root causes. In the future, I plan to pursue the Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership® (QIAL®), as I consider it equally as important for internal audit leaders as the CIA is for all internal auditors.
3. How does having an IIA certification(s) set you apart from your non-certified peers?
I believe that IIA certifications truly make a difference, as they profile you as a professional, set the basis for ongoing development within the profession, and help you grow further. Certified professionals are offered a wider range of opportunities for development, growth, and connection in comparison to non-certified peers.
4. How has your IIA certification(s) helped your career?
When I look back, I remember some of my colleagues telling me that the certification does not mean anything and that it is a waste of time and money. From today’s perspective, I can only say that this is absolutely not true. For me, the certifications not only helped me to get new, more attractive, and better paid jobs, but also opened a whole new world of opportunities. The certifications have connected me with the Global IIA and the local Serbian IIA, to other colleagues, and to the latest trends in the profession and enabled me to develop further in the area of internal auditing, both professionally and academically.
5. Has earning the IIA certification(s) enhanced your skill level?
Earning the IIA certifications has definitely enhanced my skill level. During the certification process, I learned a lot about designing and conducting audit procedures, identifying risks, and documenting the audit work. However, what I like best is the development of soft skills I have gained from the certifications. Improvement of knowledge in the areas of effective communication and report writing has significantly contributed to the quality of my everyday work.
6. What advice do you have for others who are considering obtaining an IIA certification?
One of my friends nicely concluded that certification requires putting in additional effort now to have benefits for the rest of your life. The IIA certifications are globally recognized and practically deliver worldwide opportunities in terms of career building and progress. In addition, IIA certifications will bring you into the league of the best professionals and keep your knowledge and skills up to the latest trends throughout your career.
7. How does career planning and development play a part in your growth?
Career planning and development play a very significant role in my growth. I believe every individual should take care of having a professional development plan and strive for the best achievements possible. For me, the certifications helped in this regard, as well. Being a curious person who does not like to do repetitive tasks every day, the certifications helped me profile myself as a professional, while keeping the variety in my daily routine.
8. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Believe in yourself! Do not create the limits in your head, have no prejudice, and always strive for the best!
Maja Milosavljevic was born in Belgrade, Serbia, where she finished her bachelor studies in accounting, auditing, and financial management as the best student in her class. She then completed her master studies in the same area at the University of Belgrade. After several years as an external auditor with a Big Four firm, Maja became interested in internal audit, which was a relatively new profession in her home country. She gained internal auditing experience with the National Bank of Serbia, various commercial banks, and Borealis AG, the manufacturing company where she currently works. In 2015, Maja was recognized by Internal Auditor magazine as an Emerging Leader; she has since served as a judge to select 2017’s Emerging Leaders and applied her passion for the internal auditing profession to write several blog posts and articles published by the magazine. Maja moved to Austria in 2017 to pursue new professional challenges. She feels strongly that her professional certifications have significantly contributed to her career path, and she values the variety of choices and options that internal auditing provides. Her interests include travelling, cooking, and spending time with her family, dog, and friends.
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About the CIA
As the only globally recognized certification for internal auditors and The IIA’s flagship credential for more than 40 years, the CIA sets the standard for excellence in the profession. Learn more.