Difference Between Audit Plan and Audit Program

Although Auditors can be classified as either an Internal or External Auditor, they both require the same information. While doing an audit, the auditor must possess evidence in support of his/her opinion. Acquiring a handful of evidence is a start to a successful audit.


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The Auditor usually drafts a sketch of work, together with the techniques to be used.

They assess materials for support and should be ready with all kinds of fraud risks. They also have the right to receive and verify information attained from records, practices, and documentation to develop an overall audit plan and program.

Audit Plan vs Audit Program

The difference between the Audit Plan and Audit Program is that while conducting audit the auditor follows the guidelines which are called an audit plan, on the other hand, audit program means where the audit staff follows the steps listed in audit program to collect audit evidence.

Audit Plan vs Audit Program

The audit plan is the first and basic step of auditing whereas the audit program is the second step in audit for the examination of evidence.

An audit plan and program may have different definitions and roles; however, both are an accessory to a successful audit. An Audit refers to a detailed, systematic, and independent examination of a process to ensure compliance.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonAudit PlanningAudit Program
DefinitionAudit planning is more on a structural plan, laying out all the tools, strategies or techniques needed for a specific audit.The audit program is where all the work began. It will show what steps, procedures, and evidence are needed to obtain accurate information in a step by step manner.
Rank in the procedureFirstSecond
Author1 AuditorOne or more Auditor or another accounting expert/entity

What is the Audit Plan?

An Audit plan is a guideline set when conducting an Audit. It is a significant foundation that should not be overlooked.

From the word itself, it merely defines as a plan to be carried out in an organization that comprises strategy and techniques that will be followed in carrying out an Audit. This part of an Audit is crucial.

It determines all the factors needed, making sure that all the critical areas were covered and potential problems identified and addressed.

The work will be completed seamlessly in the utmost honesty and precision.

In laying out a plan, an Auditor must consider these foundations below:

  1. Client Introduction – It’s an essential procedure in finding out the client’s information, such as the nature of the business, its engagement to the community, and meeting with the employees.
  2. Reviewing Audit documentation – the most critical part of conducting your preparations is analyzing the previous audits either from a predecessor auditor or from an accounting firm. It is only applicable if the client provides such information (which in most cases they do).
  3. Recent developments – an auditor should be well informed of the latest progress, such as new ventures or investments, products, or even merging as this might create a considerable discrepancy from the previous year.
  4. Interim Financial statements – It is mandatory to analyze misstated accounts and those that need to be monitored. 
  5. Knowing Non- audit personnel – identifying non-audit professionals or services.
  6. Staff – Engagement, and discussion are needed for a smooth transaction. Still, the procedures to be discussed are only limited to what is necessary on a designated level.
  7. Timing/ Schedule – Organization of client management and staff. Checking documents that need to be corrected or submitted.
  8. Assistance from other accounting entities – This needs to be determined whether or not a specialist needs to be in a particular procedure, may it be an IT or a tax practitioner.
  9. Accounting Standard Pronouncements – is critical as it refers to the hierarchy of communications from the Finance department to the Standard Boards and into all levels. 
  10. Date with the client – The client needs to be informed when an audit will start. He should also be well prepared for things such as the schedule when they could not access bank safes or deposit boxes.  It is to ensure the utmost integrity during the procedure.
audit plan

What is Audit Program?

An audit program acts as a blueprint of the audit plan. It specifies how the audit will go, who is going to complete it, and what steps needed in conducting it.

It’s like what goes on with the plan after formulated, which comprises various steps developed that an Auditor needs to follow.

It has a range of procedures, document verification and acquiring pieces of evidence to help the auditor with the information. It has a range of procedures, document verification, and acquiring evidence to help the auditor with the information.

The auditor plans to perform the audit in an efficient and timely manner, so it is imperative to follow the step by step planning procedures. Although it implies that the Auditor must follow the plan, the Audit program should also be flexible enough for the changes that need revision while making sure that all important areas were covered.

Main Differences Between Audit Plan and Audit Program

  1. An Audit plan is a laid out design prepared by an Auditor in conducting an Audit.  The Audit Program is the execution of the project itself, which has an extensive procedure on how it should be exhausted.
  2. The Audit Plan always comes first, followed by the Audit Program.
  3. Both might be authored by the same Auditor; however, in the execution of the Audit Program, another accounting entity or expert might be required depending on the nature of Audit.
Difference Between Audit Plan and Audit Program


  1. https://meridian.allenpress.com/ajpt/article-abstract/18/1/55/51390/Are-Audit-Program-Plans-Risk-Adjusted?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  2. https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-364197525/embracing-the-automated-audit-how-the-audit-data
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1506/L20L-7FUM-FPCB-7BE2
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