An audit programme is a detailed plan of the auditing work to be performed, specifying the procedures to be followed in verification of each item and the financial statements and the estimated time required. To be more comprehensive, an audit programme is written plan containing exact details with regard to the conduct of a particular audit. It is a description or memorandum of the work to be done during an audit. Audit programme serves as a guide in arranging and distributing the audit work as well as checking against the possibility of the omissions.
Advantages of audit programme The main advantages of an audit programme are as follows:
(i) It serves as a ready check list of audit procedures to be performed.
(ii) The audit work can be properly allocated to the audit assistants or the article clerks.
(iii) The auditor may easily know the extent of work done at any point of time. Thus, the progress of work done can be under the supervision and control of the auditor.
(iv) Audit programme would not only be useful for the audit assistants in carrying the audit work but for the principal too as he would be in a position to account for the individual responsibilities.
(v) A uniformity of the work can be attained as the same programme would be followed from time to time.
(vi) It is a useful basis for planning the programme for the following year.
(vii) It may be used as evidence by the auditor in the event when any charge is brought against him. He can prove that there has no negligence on his part and he exercised reasonable care and skill while performing the task.
Disadvantages of audit programme
The main disadvantages of an audit programme are as follows:
(i) The auditor’s task becomes mechanical and the auditors may lose interest and initiative.
(ii) Drawing up of an audit programme may be unnecessary for a small concern.
(iii) Though audit programme helps in fixing responsibilities but inefficient staff may defend themselves by stating that the matter was not contained in the audit programme.
(iv) Rigid programmes cannot be laid down for each type of business.
Though an audit programme may suffer from the above disadvantages but these can be removed by taking some initiatives such as consulting the audit assistants, modifying the programme on the basis of experience gained during audit, etc.