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Practice Guide to Auditing Efficiency

Using Multiple Types of Objectives

In some cases, auditors will have the flexibility to select more than one type of objective. For example, an audit team may be able to adopt three different objectives:

  1. To determine whether management systems and practices that support the achievement of efficiency meet expectations or best practices;
  2. To assess management systems and practices to measure and report on efficiency; and
  3. To determine whether an organization’s operational efficiency performance meets benchmarks, standards, or key performance targets.

In this case, the audit team could select one or more of the three objectives depending on available resources, significance, risk, or other relevant factors.

In other cases, this flexibility may not exist. For example, if management does not measure efficiency and it is determined that it would not be possible or practical for auditors to measure efficiency themselves, then an audit objective related to efficiency results would not be possible. (The best approach in this case would be to have an objective on systems and practices to measure efficiency.)

Even when measurements of efficiency exist, the capacity to audit results will be limited if there are no benchmarks, baselines, or key performance targets available to provide a comparative basis. In such cases, the only option left would be to assess the improvement of efficiency over time.