An audit plan is necessary to ensure that the entire course of an audit process runs progressively and systematically. It also confirms that a pre-determined audit procedure and coordination is followed and in correct timing and direction. Although this plan is an important component of the audit, it is not without its shortcomings.
An audit plan follows a standard approach and set patterns. This may stifle flexibility and initiative, therefore dampening professional judgment of the parties involved. Rigidity also makes the process too mechanistic undermining the audit staffs’ abilities, creativity and talents. This will consequently leave them with less freedom in performing their task and also technically challenged.
Overlooking Audit Staffs’ Capabilities
A plan will make the audit process automated and will loosen the sense of responsibility for the audit staff. It can potentially decrease initiative and inventiveness, with less application of staff talents and abilities. They therefore do not reinforce the plan with any improvements, which will lower its future effectiveness. The automation also leaves the staff performing their task with normality, which can cause boredom.
The strategies and procedures adopted from an audit plan may not be in accordance with a client's standards. An auditor will likely need to prepare a new procedural plan that meets the needs of the client; in some cases, this backtracking may cause the client to lose faith and/or trust in the auditor. Staff may also feel manipulated since they will have to participate in the preparation of the new plan, which can vary significantly from the standard audit.
An audit plan needs to change regularly -- usually each year -- to keep it current with the changing economic environment and business structures. If this change is not done, the plan may turn out to be too rigid in nature and its application in an audit process may be in-effective and out-dated. This updating requires more time and resource devotion to the plan, which would be better used in other productive activities.
- "The Audit Process -- Principles, Practice and Cases"; Iain Gray; 2008
- "Auditing, 8th Edition"; David N. Ricchiute; 2006
- "Principles of Auditing -- An Introduction to International Standards in Auditing, 2nd Edition"; Rick Hayes, et al.; 2005
- "Auditing and Assurance Services: An Integrated Approach, 13th Edition"; Randall J. Elder, et al.; 2009
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images