Audit objectives vary base on the types of audit engagement and the scope of the audit. The internal audit might have different objective from an external audit or statutory audit.
For example, the objective of audit on financial statements basically is to assess the financial statements that prepare by the audit’s client are true and fair or not.
The external auditor needs to ensure that the supporting documents that they obtain are sufficient and appropriate enough to help them express their opinion. This is the main objective of statutory audit.
Internal audit, however, might have different objective from the external audit. In general, the objective of the internal audit is to exercise audit activities independently and objectively to add value to the organization.
This objective might meet through the review in many different areas like operational audit, financial audit, compliant audit, as well as 3Es audit.
In this article, we will discuss in detail about the main objective of external audit and internal audit. Here are they:
The objective of external audit:
The main objective of external auditors or financial audit is to let auditors be able to perform their audit on financial statements independence and objectively and let them issued opinion whether:
- Financial Statements that prepare by managements are true and fair view in all material respects in all material respect, and
- Whether those financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with an applicable financial reporting framework.
And to meet this objective, external audits are required to strictly follow the guideline from IFAC and another related professional body. Sometimes, the external auditor also needs to follow local professional body which is established by the governments.
Internal policies and internal manual that prepare by their own firm also could help to make sure that all audit assignments are performed at the required quality.
In most case, the form is required to have them and more importunately, follow them. The audit standard that related to the objective of audit on financial statements is ISA 200. You might want to check here, ISA 200.
The objective of the audit on financial statements can be found in the audit engagement letter. this letter plays as contract and it contains much important information include audit objective, the scope of the audit, timing, audit fee, auditor right and obligation, management right and obligation, etc.
It is good to note that the external audit that mentions above refer to the audit professional audit form that authorized by the authority and run by CPA member. Big four audit firms are the best example of an external audit.
The objective of the internal audit:
The best answer to the question about what is the objective of internal audit is why does this department exist in the entity?
In general, there are two main reasons why it exists. First, for some entity, it is required by law or regulation where the entity operating in. Second, it is part of the risks entity risks managements.
Setting up the internal audit department is some time to meet the requirement of local law. For example, most of the listed companies are required to set up internal audit department to review and assess internal control both operation and internal control over financial reporting.
This internal audit must be independent and people who manage this department must be qualified. In some country, recruitment of the head of internal audit department or chief of internal audit needs to get some approval from certain local authority or body to ensure that the quality of this department is meet the requirement.
Existing of some internal audit departments are sometimes part of the board of directors as the result of risks management. This is not required by law.
In this case, the objective and scope of the internal audit department are set by the board of directors or those charge with the government. This department is normally under the control of the audit committee. In most case, the objectives of internal audit are determined and defined in The Internal Audit Charter.
In summary, the main objective of internal is to help the organization to assess and manage risks through its independence and objectivity with highly disciplined and systematic work.
So, the audit objectives are different based on the types of audit engagements as well as the scope of the audit. The objective of audit on financial statements is to let independence to express their opinion on the financial statements based on their independence and professional examination. Normally, there are four types of audit opinion that auditor will express.
The internal audit objective is to act independently and objectively to add value to the company by introducing the high discipline approach to the organization.
To ensure that internal auditor could meet this objective, the internal auditor needs to ensure high discipline need to be introduced and in case there is an impairment on this, audit committee needs to review internal audit department again.