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How Do I Write an Audit Report?

An audit can be conducted by an internal auditor or an external consultant.
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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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The specific format of an audit report depends on the type of audit conducted, but it will generally include a title page, introduction, scope, findings, opinion, and signature. Only those audits that are required by government regulation and are relied upon by investors have an industry standard report format that should be followed as closely as possible. Other types of audit reports, particularly those from internal audits of business operations, can be designed to meet the particular needs of a company within a certain level of expectation. If you want to fine tune your report presentation, there are a number of continuing education training courses offered by industry trade associations that review the different ways to write internal audit reports.

An audit can be conducted by an internal auditor or an external consultant. A public corporation's yearly financial audit must be conducted by an external accounting firm to comply with government regulations. Other sorts of audits can be handled by consultants or by an internal auditor or audit department at the company's discretion. Different types of audits include fraud audits, operational audits, and audits of individual department or systems, and each type can have its own format for the audit report.

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When you write an audit report, the important thing is to convey the sort of information and make the type of systematic and analytical assessment required of the audit procedure. The format of the report is secondary to the content, although there are certain standard approaches. Many companies with an internal audit department develop an audit report style guide that establishes the format that employees use when writing a report. You should always determine if a company has an expressed format preference or check past audit reports before you adopt a specific format.

A typical internal audit report will be framed by a title page that indicates the type of audit and an end page that contains the certification and signature of the auditor and the date the report was completed. After the title page is ordinarily a table of contents. The main body of the report is generally comprised of an introductory section that can take the form of an address to the company's executives or board, summarizing the nature of the investigation and key findings. Next is typically a section that addresses the scope of the report and identifies any areas of exclusion.

Findings are presented as part of the main body. This section can be broken into headings and subheadings to accommodate data and charts. The last section of the report should present the auditor's professional opinion and recommendations for improvements. An audit report may also include an appendix with relevant attachments.

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