What Is an Audit?

What Is an Audit?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

An audit is a systematic and objective examination of an organization’s operations, usually carried out by an independent body. This process can be undertaken internally by the staff of the organization, or externally by an outside firm. The main purpose of an audit is to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and compliance of the organization with laws, regulations and policies.

Audits assess financial aspects, operational processes, or information systems of an organization. Depending on the type of audit, detailed evidence is collected and thoroughly analyzed to check if the organization meets specified criteria, such as control activities, internal controls, and financial reporting mechanisms. The end result of an audit provides an assurance of the accuracy of financial statements or a conception of an organization’s operational effectiveness.

Related Questions

1. What is the purpose of an audit?

The primary purpose of an audit is to provide an objective independent assessment of the reliability and integrity of financial statements or operations. It gives assurance to stakeholders that the company is operating in line with set regulation and standards.

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2. What are the types of audits?

There are several types of audits including financial audits, compliance audits, operational audits, and information systems audits. Each type evaluates different aspects of an organization’s operations.

3. Who are the auditors?

Auditors are specially trained professionals who possess the necessary skills to conduct audits. They can be internal employees of the organization or external professionals from an outside firm, depending on the nature and scope of the audit.

4. What is an internal audit?

An internal audit is a type of audit conducted by the employees of the organization. It aims to improve operations and bring potential concerns to management’s attention so they can make informed decisions.

5. What is an external audit?

An external audit is conducted by independent auditors outside of the organization. The aim is to provide unbiased and objective validation of the organization’s financial statements to secondary users, such as investors, creditors, and regulatory agencies.