What Audit Means in Finance and Accounting, and the Three Main Types 

The term “audit” typically refers to an examination of financial statements. A financial audit is an independent review and assessment of an organisation’s financial statements to ensure that they fairly and accurately reflect the transactions they purport to represent. Employees of the organisation may conduct the audit internally, or an independent Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm may do so externally. These come from CA institutes in Mumbai and are over to you.  


  • Internal, IRS, and external audits are the three primary categories of audits.  
  • Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms frequently carry out external audits, which produce an auditor’s opinion that is included in the audit report.  
  • A clean audit opinion, also known as an unqualified opinion, indicates that the auditor has thoroughly examined the financial statements and found no significant misstatements.  
  • Internal controls and financial statements can be examined as part of an external audit.  
  • Internal audits are a managerial tool for process and internal control improvement.  

Recognising Audits  

Almost all businesses have annual audited financial statements, including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. As part of their debt covenants, lenders frequently demand the yearly results of an external audit. Due to the strong incentives to purposefully misstate financial facts in an effort to perpetrate fraud, audits are a legal necessity for several businesses. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002 mandates that publicly traded corporations also have an assessment of the efficiency of their internal controls. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Auditing Guidelines Board (ASB) has established standards known as the generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS) for external audits conducted in the country (AICPA).  

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which was created as a result of SOX in 2002, makes additional regulations for the audits of publicly traded firms.  

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board established a distinct set of international standards known as the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) (IAASB).  

Audit Types:  

Outside audits  

External audits can be quite beneficial in removing any prejudice when examining the health of a company’s finances. Financial audits look for any significant inaccuracies in the financial statements. Users of financial statements can be confident that the financials are accurate and complete if the auditor’s view is unqualified or clean. Therefore, external audits give stakeholders the information they need to make wiser judgments about the organisation under audit. Aim yourself for an accounting academy now!  

External auditors adhere to a different set of criteria than the business or organisation that hires them to do the job. The idea of the external auditor’s independence is the main distinction between an internal and an external audit.  

Internal Audits  

Internal auditors work for the business or organisation they are auditing, delivering their audit reports directly to management and the board of directors. Despite not being employed internally, consultant auditors utilise the standards of the organisation they are auditing rather than a different set of criteria. When a business lacks the internal resources to audit specific aspects of its operations, several sorts of auditors are hired.  

Improvements to internal controls and managerial decisions are based on internal audit findings. An internal audit’s goals are to maintain accurate and timely financial reporting and data collecting while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.  

Audits by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  

Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) often conducts audits to confirm the integrity of a taxpayer’s return and particular activities. When the IRS audits a person or business, it typically has a bad connotation and is interpreted as proof of some sort of misconduct on the taxpayer’s part. However, being chosen for an audit is not always a sign of misconduct. Random statistical methods that examine a taxpayer’s return and compare it to comparable returns are typically used by the IRS to pick audit candidates. If a taxpayer has any interactions with another person or business discovered to have tax problems during an audit, they may also be chosen for an audit.  

Three possible audit outcomes are accessible to the IRS: the tax return is not changed; the change is accepted by the taxpayer or the taxpayer objects to the change. The taxpayer can be responsible for additional taxes or penalties if the adjustment is approved. There is a procedure to follow if the taxpayer objects, which may involve mediation or an appeal.   

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