22. The three main types of public-sector audit are defined as follows:

  • Financial audit focuses on determining whether an entity’s financial information is presented in accordance with the applicable financial reporting and regulatory framework. This is accomplished by obtaining sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to enable the auditor to express an opinion as to whether the financial information is free from material misstatement due to fraud or error.
  • Performance audit focuses on whether interventions, programmes and institutions are performing in accordance with the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness and whether there is room for improvement. Performance is examined against suitable criteria, and the causes of deviations from those criteria or other problems are analysed. The aim is to answer key audit questions and to provide recommendations for improvement.
  • Compliance audit focuses on whether a particular subject matter is in compliance with authorities identified as criteria. Compliance auditing is performed by assessing whether activities, financial transactions and information are, in all material respects, in compliance with the authorities which govern the audited entity. These authorities may include rules, laws and regulations, budgetary resolutions, policy, established codes, agreed terms or the general principles governing sound public sector financial management and the conduct of public officials.

23. SAIs may carry out audits or other engagements on any subject of relevance to the responsibilities of management and those charged with governance and the appropriate use of public resources. These engagements may include reporting on the quantitative outputs and outcomes of the entity’s service delivery activities, sustainability reports, future resource requirements, adherence to internal control standards, real-time audits of projects or other matters. SAIs may also conduct combined audits incorporating financial, performance and/or compliance aspects.

INTOSAI ref. Fundamental Principles of Public-Sector Auditing(pdf) (ISSAI-100).
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