Audit Planning: What Is, Example, Process

The auditing process involves assessing a client’s financial statements to form an audit conclusion. There are several stages involved in this process. Primarily, auditors perform the most critical tasks during the fieldwork stage of an audit. However, they must also have a plan to execute during this stage. This plan falls under the audit planning process.

What is Audit Planning?

Audit planning is a stage during the audit process that involves developing an outline for an audit assignment. It allows auditors to lay the foundation for future audits. Usually, it entails figuring out the audit procedures and techniques to use based on several factors. This plan helps auditors manage their audit workflow and reduce audit risks.

Audit planning is the first stage during an audit engagement. Auditors conduct this stage to ensure they identify the critical areas in the financial statements. Similarly, it allows them to allocate sufficient resources to those areas. On top of that, it also enables auditors to identify areas that may include material misstatements. Overall, audit planning allows for the coordination of the audit process.

How does Audit Planning work?

Audit planning is the first step during an audit engagement. It involves various stages which are essential to developing an outline. Usually, the audit planning process requires auditors to create an audit strategy first. This process requires them to set the scope, timing, and direction of the engagement. On top of that, it also helps allocate resources for specific areas and manage those resources.

Once auditors develop an audit strategy, they can devise an audit plan. This plan is more specific and detailed than the former. Usually, it involves various processes. For example, it includes the nature, timing, and extent of risk assessment procedures. On top of that, it also consists of the audit procedures that auditors expect to perform.

The audit plan also involves other procedures that auditors must perform to conform to the ISAs. Primarily, audit planning requires auditors to develop an audit strategy. Based on that strategy, they must become more specific and include detailed steps to achieve the goals. Audit planning may differ from one client to another based on the nature of the work. However, it involves a similar process.

What are the advantages of Audit Planning?

Audit planning provides various benefits to auditors and helps them achieve their goals during an audit. However, its advantages are more specific than that. Some of those include the following.

  • Helps identify critical areas and allows auditors to focus there.
  • Identifies areas where manual processes can be automated to increase assurance.
  • Allows audit firms to allocate resources efficiently.
  • Helps keep costs down to a reasonable level.
  • Aids in the smooth execution of the audit work in later stages.
  • Allows auditors to focus on and achieve their objectives for a specific engagement.
  • Ensures the timely completion of work without compromising quality.
  • Allows coordinating audit activities to ensure an efficient process.

Apart from these, audit planning can also have other benefits. The above does not constitute an exhaustive list of the benefits of audit planning.


Audit planning is the first stage in an audit engagement. It allows auditors to form an outline for an audit. Primarily, audit planning involves developing an audit strategy and audit plan. The former sets the layout for the whole process. On the other hand, the audit plan creates a detailed outline based on the strategy. Audit planning can have several benefits, as listed above.

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