An Internal Audit Plan Often Comprises Several Independent Audits

Internal audit plan figures can be used by management in determining whether or not to take certain actions to change the operation of the business. Although auditing itself is relatively well established, internal auditing is far newer. It is a discipline through which employees of a company carry out their own audit. Obviously, this will not be enough to impress potential investors or anyone needing to develop confidence in the operation, as they would need to see an audit created by an independent source.

The history of auditing goes back to long before internal auditing was common. The main purpose of commercial auditing is to present the right picture to the outside world, usually potential investors. In the case of public bodies, it is to establish confidence that public money is being spent in the best way possible. This external accounting has tended to follow the internal auditing plans which have become an increasing part of the accounting profession, ever since company structures became more complex. Results have improved now that external audits follow the company's own structure.

Internal audits are carried out by managers who need to know how to allocate resources or how to improve the efficiency of processes within the company. This financial audit is executed by employees of the company itself, as opposed to outsiders. This could mean that it is performed by staff with no formal accounting training, in companies which are too small to employ professional auditors. Larger companies who need a lot of auditing carried out are able to employ specialists who can do this.

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There are also process audits which form a different part of the internal audit plan. These process audits are designed to give managers the information they need to assess the operations of the company. A process is something which achieves an end result, an objective. If this process is not functioning as effectively as it might, the manager will be able to see how it could be improved. The necessary changes can then be implemented and the audit carried out again.

This type of process audit can be carried out in conjunction with a financial audit, as part of the same internal audit plan. The employees carrying out this audit can be the same, or they can come from different departments. If there are specialist financial auditors in the company, it is unlikely that they will also be carrying out the process audit, as this will be best done by employees who have knowledge of the relevant processes. In a small company, all audits can be carried out together, because it is likely that the employees will have full knowledge of everything included in the internal audit plan.

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