Difference Between Internal Audit and External Audit with Comparison Chart

They should have access to data and resources across the organization to carry out their audit plan. Depending on the size of the organization, the internal audit function may be performed by a company’s internal audit department or it may be outsourced. The scope of their work is directed by management, but they maintain objectivity and independence by reporting to the audit committee or the board. Their audit reports are shared with the senior management of the area of their examination.

  • Read how in just a matter of weeks, Qualys leveraged FloQast to standardize the close process and organize controls and documentation for a more simplified SOX compliance.
  • The internal audit function maintains its independence within the organization by reporting to the audit committee of the board of directors.
  • External auditors must be appointed from a different company independent of their own whilst internal auditors are usually employees of the organisation.

These reports point out ways that internal controls can be optimized and ideas for streamlining operations. Internal audits and external audits complement each other and both require auditor independence and provide assurance over the functioning of internal control. In some cases, the external auditor may rely upon the work of the internal auditor rather than performing all the work themselves. Both types of audits provide assurance regarding the design and operational effectiveness around the functioning of internal controls and provide feedback to management and the board of directors. Internal Audit examines the effectiveness of an organization’s internal controls, which is the accounting process.

What is ISO 27701 Privacy Information Management Standard?

If you would like to learn more about Linford and Company and our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us. An organization executes a contract with an external audit firm for the purpose of conducting an external audit. The external auditors are required to be independent of the organization for which they are conducting the audit. They should have access to data and resources across the organization to achieve the requirements of the audit, otherwise, any scope limitation may result in qualifying the opinion. In some cases, the external audit may rely upon the work of the internal audit rather than performing all of the work themselves.

In the end, John aced his exams with the help of his mom’s practice tests and his dedication to studying. He realized that auditing was a crucial function that could help organizations achieve success and compliance. On the other hand, external audit is entirely independent in which a third party is brought to the organisation to carry out the procedure. Auditing roles usually fall into two camps though, internal and external, and it’s important to understand these implicitly before looking too closely at specialisms or niches. Now let’s understand the five major points of distinction between the internal and the external audit. On the contrary, External Audit which is obligatory for every separate legal entity, where a third party is brought to the organization to perform the process of Audit and give its opinion on the Financial Statements of the company.

An external audit is an examination performed under specific regulations or guidelines that includes an opinion on the results of the examination. The opinion given is either an unqualified opinion, meaning that there were no material exceptions, or a qualified opinion, meaning that an exception was noted. While the internal and external audit functions are complementary and may need to work closely together, their purposes and areas of focus differ. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) emphasizes that the two functions do not compete or conflict; rather, they both contribute to effective governance. The auditing process of the two types of the audit is almost same and that is why people get confused between these two.

How to Plan an Audit: 15 tips to make your next audit planning easier!

External auditors, on the other hand, focus on whether the organization’s business accounts accurately and fairly represent its financial performance. Auditors from government or regulatory agencies look for any compliance deficiencies or violations. Internal audit work is forward-looking and proactive; external audits look at past record-keeping or proof of compliance. Appointment
External auditors are appointed by the shareholders of a company, although this usually comes through discussion with directors.

  • Because their primary responsibility is to outside stakeholders, external auditors must be independent of the companies they audit.
  • Below are some examples of similarities between an internal audit and an external audit.
  • The scope of their work is directed by management, but they maintain objectivity and independence by reporting to the audit committee or the board.
  • This, in turn, can promote a culture of accountability, transparency, and improved performance across the organization.
  • The role of the external auditor is very important and critical as it certifies the integrity of the organization’s financial statement.

While there are some similarities between an internal audit and an external audit, there are differences that need to be understood. This blog will explain what an internal audit and an external audit are to the reader. It will dissect the similarities and the differences between an internal audit and an external audit for greater understanding. He knew that even if he did well on the practice tests, he needed to perform well on the actual exam to get good grades.

Internal vs. External Auditors, What’s the Difference?

Other types of external audits include system and organization control (SOC) audits. This type of audit report is provided to current and prospective customers of the organization. In many organizations, especially those that are publicly traded or regulated by government agencies, external audits are mandatory.

internal vs external audits

When the auditors have completed their work, they provide a report to management and other stakeholders. The content and format of these external audit reports is specified by the auditing standards. At an exit conference with management, the auditors may discuss the deficiencies in a company’s internal controls and may also provide management with suggestions for improving the business. External auditors can suggest changes but are not allowed to implement those changes as that would impair their independence.

In summary, internal audit helps to improve companies from the inside, while external audit ensures that what they present to the outside world reflects what really happened. Both types of audit keep the engine of our economy running efficiently and accurately. Emma’s 70-person geographically distributed accounting team improved internal controls and streamlined the audit thanks to FloQast. In short, the two functions share one word in their names, but are otherwise quite different. Larger organizations typically have both functions, thereby ensuring that their records, processes, and financial statements are closely examined at regular intervals. Responsibility
External auditors are responsible to the owners of the company which could be anybody from its owners to the shareholders to the government or general public.

Internal vs. External Audit Comparative Table

An objective of the internal auditor is to add value, improve organizational operations, and ensure that an organization complies with laws and regulations set by the government. Generally, internal auditors collect all required information on how the organization operates and use that information to show where it is doing well and where it can improve. For both types of auditors, risk assessment is a vital consideration, and a keen understanding of the industry and the company is required.

internal vs external audits

External auditor plays a critical role in validating an organization’s finances. External auditors work for an independent body to assess the financal records and practices of a company. External audit activities not only check for errors and misstatements, they also evaluate if those errors likely came from the intentional actions of the employees of the organization. How can internal auditors maintain objectivity when they are employees of the organization they’re auditing?

Internal auditors work within an organisation and report to its audit committee and/or directors. They help to design the company’s organising systems and help develop specific risk management policies. They also ensure that all policies implemented for risk management are operating effectively. The work of the internal auditor tends to be continuous and based on the internal control systems of a business of any size. This helps to answer what you need to know about the many differences and some of the similarities between an internal audit and an external audit.

Head To Head Comparison Between Internal Audit vs External Audit (Infographics)

An internal audit is an independent appraisal of a certain activity or department within an organization. It brings a systematic approach to evaluate and improve the functioning of an organization’s internal controls, management of risk, and governance processes. The internal audit function maintains its independence within the organization by reporting to the audit committee of the board of directors.

An Internal audit is conducted by the internal auditors who are the employees of the organisation. It is a separate department, within the organisation where a continuous audit is performed throughout the year. The purpose of external audit is to provide assurance to investors, lenders, and other stakeholders that a company’s issued financial statements present the organization’s results in a materially correct and fair manner. In the U.K., this is known as presenting a “true and fair view.” This assurance is provided by verifying that a company is reporting its financial results in accordance with the relevant accounting standards. For compliance audits, the scope is determined by the regulatory body conducting the audit. Internal auditors assess organizational health holistically, determining whether business practices are supporting strategic objectives and identifying risks that could impact those objectives.

The scope of an internal audit is typically wider in comparison to an external audit. Internal audits cover a diverse range of areas within the organization, including financial reporting, compliance, information security, operations, risk management, and more. On the other hand, external audits are primarily focused on the financial statements of the organization. In certain cases, external audits may be related to a specific set of regulations. One of the primary distinctions between the internal and external audit functions pertains to the objective of the audit. The internal audit is conducted by the organization’s own audit department or employees, whereas the external audit is carried out by an independent third-party audit firm.