Difference Wiki

Audit Plan vs. Audit Programme: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 28, 2023
An audit plan is a strategy developed to conduct an audit, outlining the scope and objectives, while an audit programme is a detailed set of instructions and procedures to be followed during the audit.

Key Differences

An audit plan is the overall strategy for the effective conduct of an audit. It includes defining the scope, objectives, and timing of the audit, and it identifies key areas of focus. The audit programme, in contrast, is a comprehensive set of detailed instructions and procedures that the audit team will follow during the actual audit process.
The audit plan is broader and more strategic in nature, providing a framework for the audit. It determines what needs to be audited, why, and when, and sets the audit's direction. The audit programme, however, is more tactical and operational, detailing how the audit will be carried out, including specific steps and methodologies.
Developing an audit plan involves assessing the audit's environment, understanding the entity's operations, and considering risk factors. This plan serves as a guide for creating the audit programme. The audit programme, meanwhile, translates this plan into actionable steps, detailing tasks such as data collection, analysis, and reporting procedures.
An audit plan is typically developed by senior auditors or audit managers and is used to allocate resources, such as time and personnel, for the audit. The audit programme, created based on the audit plan, is used by the audit team members as a day-to-day guide to ensure that all planned audit activities are executed systematically and thoroughly.
The audit plan sets the stage for an audit, defining its purpose and approach, while the audit programme lays out the specific actions to be taken, ensuring that the audit plan's objectives are met through detailed, organized steps.

Comparison Chart


Strategic and broad.
Tactical and detailed.


Sets objectives and scope of the audit.
Outlines specific procedures for the audit.


Planning and resource allocation.
Execution and methodologies.


Used by senior auditors to strategize.
Used by audit team for day-to-day guidance.


Scope, objectives, timing, risk assessment.
Specific steps, data collection, analysis methods.

Audit Plan and Audit Programme Definitions

Audit Plan

Guide for allocating audit resources such as time and personnel.
The audit plan allocated two weeks for the review of the procurement process.

Audit Programme

Actionable steps derived from the strategic audit plan.
The audit programme translated the strategic goals into practical tasks.

Audit Plan

Framework for determining the audit's direction and focus.
Their audit plan prioritized areas with higher risk of financial discrepancies.

Audit Programme

Detailed set of instructions for carrying out an audit.
The audit programme included step-by-step procedures for inventory verification.

Audit Plan

Strategy for conducting an audit, outlining its scope and objectives.
The audit plan included a thorough review of the company's financial transactions.

Audit Programme

Operational document detailing audit tasks and methodologies.
Their audit programme outlined a detailed approach for data analysis.

Audit Plan

Broad outline for assessing audit environment and risks.
The audit plan involved an assessment of internal controls and compliance.

Audit Programme

Specific guide for audit team’s daily activities.
The audit programme directed auditors to first examine cash transactions.

Audit Plan

High-level planning document for an audit.
The audit plan was developed in consultation with senior management.

Audit Programme

Comprehensive plan for executing audit plan objectives.
The audit programme meticulously detailed the process for interviewing staff.


Why is an audit plan important?

It sets the direction and priorities for the audit, ensuring effective resource allocation.

What is included in an audit programme?

Specific audit procedures, methodologies, and tasks for auditors.

How does an audit programme differ from an audit plan?

An audit programme is a detailed operational document outlining specific procedures, based on the strategy set in the audit plan.

What is an audit plan?

It's a strategic document outlining the scope, objectives, and approach of an audit.

Is the audit programme flexible?

It should be somewhat flexible to adapt to findings during the audit process.

How detailed is an audit programme?

It's highly detailed, covering every aspect of the audit process.

Can an audit be conducted without a plan?

Conducting an audit without a plan can lead to inefficiencies and missed objectives.

Who develops the audit plan?

Typically, senior auditors or audit managers.

Can the audit programme vary based on audit type?

Yes, it differs based on the type of audit, such as financial, operational, or compliance audits.

How does technology impact the audit plan?

Technology can streamline the planning process and improve risk assessment.

Can an audit programme help in fraud detection?

Yes, if it includes specific procedures for detecting fraudulent activities.

Does the audit plan determine the audit's timeline?

Yes, it includes an estimated timeline for the audit's completion.

Is client input considered in the audit plan?

Yes, understanding client needs and concerns is crucial for an effective audit plan.

Does the audit plan involve risk assessment?

Yes, assessing risks is a key component of the audit plan.

What happens if an audit plan is poorly designed?

It can lead to an inefficient audit and failure to meet objectives.

Are audit programmes the same for every audit?

No, they are tailored to the specific objectives and scope of each audit.

How often should audit plans be updated?

Regularly, to reflect changes in the business environment and operations.

What factors influence the audit programme?

Factors like company size, complexity, industry, and specific audit objectives.

Who uses the audit programme?

It's used by the audit team members during the audit.

Is an audit plan legally required?

While not always legally required, it's essential for a thorough and effective audit.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons