Audit Plan vs Audit Program – Difference and Comparison

What is Audit Plan?

An Audit plan includes the complete strategy and detailed steps required to be followed during the conduct of an Audit, which is carried out by the engagement team members.

It also includes procedures for risk assessment, as well as additional steps to be followed depending on the outcome of the risk assessment.

It is a regular process that starts right after the completion of the previous Audit and lasts until the completion of the current engagement.

What is an Audit Program?

An Audit program on the other hand is like a blueprint of the audit plan, which specifies exactly how the audit should be performed, who should perform it, and the steps required to be followed to conduct the audit.

It is created after an audit plan has been formulated. It determines how many facts or pieces of evidence are to be analyzed. So, an Audit plan is a design prepared by the auditor for the conduction of an audit in an effective way.

Although an audit plan and an audit program may seem like the same thing on the surface, these are two different things with several key differences.

Both are necessary for a successful audit. An audit is a thorough and objective assessment of a process to check compliance.

Difference Between Audit Plan and Audit Program

 The main goal of an auditor is to plan the audit so that it gets carried out efficiently. The engagement as well as the performance of the audit is the sole responsibility of the engagement partner.

Creating the complete audit strategy for the engagement and making an audit plan, which includes, in particular, planned risk assessment methods and planned responses to drastic misstatement risks, are all part of the audit planning process.

There are some standard examples of audit programs which include Customized audit programs, standardized audit programs, and compliance audit programs.

The primary goal of an audit is to determine a company’s financial situation. To avoid influences from a relationship within the client‘s circle, an auditor must act independently. To prevent fraud, both the Audit Plan and the Audit Program have responsibilities to play.

Comparison Table Between Audit Plan and Audit Program

Parameter of Comparison  Audit PlanAudit Program
DefinitionIt is the design or scheme prepared by the auditor for conducting an audit effectively.It is an exhaustive plan which comprises a list of verification steps, to be implemented, to collect sufficient facts and evidence, and to facilitate the auditor for expressing the opinion.
What is it?The first principle of an audit.Series of examination and verification steps.
OrderIt is designed by the auditor first.It is designed after making the audit plan.
ScopeAn audit plan has to be developed and documented by the auditor, and it should include a description of the type, timing, and scope of testing of controls, and other planned audit procedures which are required to comply with PCAOB criteria.The goals of the audit program determine the design of the audit report and are entirely based on the rules, processes, and recommendations of the company.
Factors involvedStep-by-step implementation of the processes involved in the audit along with risk assessment procedures.Management priorities, business intentions, system requirements, legal and contractual mandates, customer and other interested parties expectations, potential risk management vulnerabilities, and any corrective measure is taken based on previous audits.