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Internal Check vs. Internal Audit: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 20, 2023
Internal Check is a continuous process integrated into daily operations for error and fraud prevention. Internal Audit is an independent, periodic review of an organization's processes and systems.

Key Differences

An internal check refers to routine checks and balances embedded within an organization’s daily processes. It aims to prevent errors and fraud in financial transactions. Conversely, an internal audit is a comprehensive examination conducted at intervals to evaluate the effectiveness of internal controls and compliance with regulations and policies.
Internal checks are part of the operational procedures, often carried out by employees as part of their regular duties. Internal audits, however, are conducted by a specialized team or department, separate from the regular operational staff.
The focus of internal checks is on the accuracy and reliability of financial transactions as they occur. Internal audits assess the broader management systems, including risk management and governance processes.
Internal checks are preventive in nature, aiming to stop errors before they escalate. Internal audits are more investigative, identifying issues post-occurrence and suggesting improvements.
Internal checks provide immediate feedback and correction within the workflow. Internal audits offer a periodic, in-depth analysis and are more strategic in their approach.

Comparison Chart


Continuous, integrated into daily operations
Periodic, independent review

Primary Purpose

Prevent errors and fraud in transactions
Evaluate overall internal control systems


Performed by operational staff
Conducted by a specialized audit team


Accuracy and reliability of transactions
Risk management, governance, compliance

Nature of Action

Preventive, immediate correction
Investigative, strategic improvements

Internal Check and Internal Audit Definitions

Internal Check

A preventive measure against inaccuracies.
The internal check at the warehouse includes stock verification.

Internal Audit

An evaluation of risk management and governance.
The internal audit focused on the effectiveness of risk mitigation strategies.

Internal Check

Regular supervision by operational staff.
Internal checks by the team leader prevent data entry errors.

Internal Audit

A tool for strategic management improvement.
Following the internal audit, new policies were implemented.

Internal Check

A control mechanism within daily tasks.
The internal check system flagged an unusual transaction for review.

Internal Audit

A periodic review of organizational processes.
The company conducts an internal audit annually to ensure compliance.

Internal Check

A part of routine operations for error prevention.
The cashier performs an internal check by reconciling the cash drawer daily.

Internal Audit

A comprehensive examination by audit professionals.
The internal audit team is preparing their report on operational efficiency.

Internal Check

Continuous monitoring within business processes.
Internal checks in procurement ensure order accuracy.

Internal Audit

An independent assessment of internal controls.
The internal audit revealed strengths and weaknesses in the financial system.


How does internal check differ from internal audit?

Internal check is a preventive measure, implemented on a daily basis, while internal audit is a periodic review of these measures.

Can internal check detect all types of fraud?

It significantly reduces the risk but cannot detect all fraud, as some may be well-concealed.

What are common internal check methods?

Common methods include segregation of duties, authorization of transactions, and physical controls.

How often should internal check procedures be updated?

They should be reviewed and updated regularly, ideally annually or when major changes occur.

What are the key focuses of an internal audit?

Key focuses include risk management, control, and governance processes.

Who is responsible for internal check?

Typically, it's the responsibility of all employees within their respective roles.

What is an internal check?

An internal check is a continuous process within a business, designed to manage and monitor procedures and prevent errors and fraud.

Is internal check mandatory?

While not legally mandatory, it's considered a best practice in business operations.

Does internal check require special training?

Basic training in organizational procedures is generally sufficient.

Can internal audit recommendations be ignored?

Ignoring them is not advisable as it can lead to significant operational and financial risks.

Can small businesses benefit from internal check?

Yes, even small businesses can significantly benefit from implementing internal checks.

How often are internal audits conducted?

The frequency varies, typically annually or semi-annually, based on the organization's needs.

How is internal audit different from external audit?

Internal audit focuses on internal control effectiveness, while external audit focuses on financial statement accuracy.

What happens if internal checks fail?

Failure can lead to errors or fraud, impacting financial and operational integrity.

How does technology impact internal audit?

Technology enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of audits through data analysis and automation.

What is an internal audit?

It's an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations.

Who performs an internal audit?

It's performed by internal auditors, who are employees of the organization but operate independently.

Is internal audit mandatory for all companies?

While not mandatory for all, it's required for publicly traded companies and highly recommended for others.

What qualifications do internal auditors need?

They often have accounting or finance backgrounds and certifications like CIA (Certified Internal Auditor).

Can internal audit findings be used in legal proceedings?

Yes, they can be, especially if they reveal legal or regulatory non-compliance.
About Author
Written 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.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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