Determining the Audit Focus
When planning a performance (value-for-money) audit that will integrate efficiency considerations, auditors will need to decide the focus of the audit. Focus relates to the level or degree of attention given to efficiency in a performance audit.
The Spectrum of Focus
There are many ways in which a performance audit can integrate efficiency considerations. Some audits will focus exclusively on efficiency while others will only cover efficiency as a secondary topic. This varying level of effort and focus directed at efficiency can be thought of as a spectrum (Figure 5) along which are different categories, from “marginal or no focus” to “exclusive focus”:
- Marginal or no focus—There is no formal plan to audit efficiency, but the issue comes up during an audit.
- Non-specific focus—Some audit steps touch on efficiency even though there is no specific efficiency criterion.
- Specific focus—Structured audit work on efficiency is part of a larger audit.
- Exclusive focus—This is an efficiency-focused audit (or stand-alone efficiency audit).
The Spectrum of Audits of Efficiency
Audit work on efficiency will also vary along other dimensions. For example, an audit of efficiency could:
- Be government-wide, sector-specific, or entity-specific.
- Look at routine management systems or at specialized efficiency improvement frameworks or initiatives.
- Focus on the efficiency of controls, on the efficiency of operations, or both.