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Practice Guide to Auditing Efficiency

Results Audits

In a results audit of efficiency, the focus is on determining whether a program or activity is efficient. Generally, results audit work involves the comparison of current or recent performance against benchmarks, a baseline, or key performance targets. It is also possible to assess efficiency performance over time.

A results audit is only practical if an organization measures its efficiency or if the auditor is able to measure efficiency. In cases where management does measure efficiency, auditors will need to do additional work to validate the collected information in order to be able to rely on it in their audit. Reliance on primary or secondary performance data creates audit risk. As with any audit that relies on performance data, auditors must manage audit risks by assessing the reliability, accuracy, completeness and comparability of the data used to support their audit conclusions.

In cases where management does not measure efficiency, auditors may decide to measure efficiency themselves. However, measurement of efficiency is often a challenging task, so auditors should not decide to measure it directly without first determining whether such measurement is feasible at a reasonable cost.