Audit Plan vs Audit Program: Difference and Comparison

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


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The Auditor drafts a sketch of work and the techniques to be used.

They assess support materials and should be ready for 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. The audit plan is a comprehensive document that outlines an audit’s scope, objectives, and methodology.
  2. An audit program is a detailed plan that outlines the specific procedures and steps the auditor will take to achieve the objectives outlined in the audit plan.
  3. The audit plan is a strategic document that guides the overall audit process, while an audit program is a tactical document that outlines the specific tasks and procedures to be performed.

Audit Plan vs Audit Program

The audit plan carries out audit in an efficient way to ensure no area is left unattended, while an audit programme helps divide the audit work appropriately between members. An audit plan is the first principle of the audit, while audit program is a series of examinations and verification steps.

Audit Plan vs Audit Program

The audit plan is the first and essential step of auditing, whereas the audit program is the second step in the audit to examine the 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 step-by-step.
Rank in the procedureFirstSecond
Author1 AuditorOne or more Auditors 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.

The word defines a plan to be carried out in an organization that comprises strategy and techniques to be followed in an Audit. This part of an Audit is crucial.

It determines all the factors needed, ensuring all the critical areas are covered and potential problems identified and addressed.

The work will be completed seamlessly with 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 with 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 mergers, 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, whether IT or a tax practitioner.
  9. Accounting Standard Pronouncements – is critical as it refers to the communications hierarchy 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 prepared for the schedule when they cannot 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 for the audit plan. It specifies how the audit will go, who will complete it, and what steps are needed to conduct 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 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 efficiently and timely, 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 ensuring that all critical areas are covered.

what is audit program

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. The same Auditor might author both; however, in the execution of the Audit Program, another accounting entity or expert might be required depending on the nature of the Audit.
Difference Between Audit Plan and Audit Program
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