What is the difference between the audit partner and the engagement partner?


The learning objective here is to understand the features of the audit partner and engagement partner and the difference between them.

An audit partner is an equity partner in a professional accounting firm or a fully certified public accountant. When an employee is officially added to a partnership, they can invest to purchase equity in the partnership.

Concerning the ownership percentage, each audit partner can easily earn a certain amount of share of the overall profit.

It’s the top executives and managers of the company that audit partners work closely with. These executives and heads of departments might need assistance with several other areas of expertise such as human resources or legal affairs.

Currently, many accounting firms are performing the practice of hiring a lot of talented senior-level subject matter in specific areas to provide consultation services to many audit clients.

Rewards and responsibilities of becoming an Audit partner

Becoming an audit partner comes with many professional rewards – mainly financial, which is the sole motivator for many professionals to work longer hours and continue in their chosen fields. Having the professional title of – partner adds an element of seniority, authenticity, and expertise.

The main responsibility associated with being an engagement partner is to look over and supervise the audit engagement in a firm. This also includes looking over and leading the projects and progress of other engagement team members. Overlooking audit performance and engagement generated is the main task of an engagement partner.

It starts with when one has to go through an initial audit process – then the term audit engagement is used. There are specific procedures and guidelines to be dealt with when one works with audit engagement. Simply put, when an audit is performed by an auditor – that process is referred to as engagement.

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Basically when an auditor starts working on an audit and goes through the initial process and scope of the project and notifies the client about it – that entire process is the engagement part of the audit. In more specific terms, audit engagement is the written letter in which the partner notifies the client that he will be engaging in audit services.

In short, the engagement partner deals with several distinctive steps of the process – which can be divided into planning, testing of control, fieldwork, and finalization.

Key differences between engagement partner and audit partner

The engagement partner meets with the client to discuss the scope of an audit and why will it happen. The engagement partner then creates a final report and may or may not ask the client to complete a survey about the performance and the result of the audits.

The goal of the engagement partner is to ensure that there aren’t any errors in the audit results and there is absolutely no inaccuracy in them. The engagement partner is supposed to provide letters for audit engagement as one of the final steps in the process. The audit partners, on the other hand, manage the overall auditing department.

There could be a large number of team members employed in the auditing department – so the role of an audit partner comes with all these responsibilities. Audit partners are in charge of hiring new employees and rewarding certain benefits or promotions to existing employees.

Client engagement and selecting teams for it is also a responsibility associated with being an audit partner. Unlike engagement partners, audit partners don’t necessarily participate in the daily audit tasks and projects.

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They only contribute when necessary or if a certain project is considered of greater importance. Audit partners have more of a managerial and a lead role in the audit department and they are most often responsible for ensuring that deadlines for audit tasks are being met and that everything is running smoothly. Audit partners’ roles become crucial when an audit process is coming to its final stages.

Audit partners then engage in a final exit meeting with a client to discuss any possible issues or hindrances in the audit process to ensure it’s taken care of in future audit tasks.

Those issues would then be looked into by the partners to come up with possible solutions and understand why they occurred in the first place and also come up with measures to prevent them in the future.


In conclusion, all the evidence would be recorded to understand the effectiveness of all the efforts put into the process and then come up with innovative suggestions to improve future progress. These are the basic features and facts associated with audit partner and engagement partner and what differentiates them.