auditoria que es

What is an audit: definition, types and meaning

Do you know what an audit is and what types of audits exist? It is a process that a company will probably go through more than once in its life. Although it may not be the same type of audit every time.

Is that positive or negative? The truth is that it depends on the type of audit, who carries it out and why. And although it may sound a bit strange, you will find out more about this when you learn about the wide diversity of types of audits.

But let’s start from the beginning: the definition of audit.

What is an audit: definition and basic types

What is an audit?

It is the compendium of the investigation and collection of data and evidence on an aspect related to a company or entity carried out by an auditor in order to verify its status and/or compliance with specific norms, standards or rules.

There are basically two types of audits: internal and external.

What is an internal audit and an external audit?

What is an internal audit? An internal audit is one that is carried out within the company, entity or organisation itself.

What is an external audit? An external audit is one that is carried out by a third party. In other words, it is carried out by people outside the audited company, entity or enterprise. To ensure that it is a quality job, it is advisable that it is planned and carried out by professionals. By firms, entities or companies specialised and qualified in the evaluation of the type of audit to be carried out.

In this case we can also speak of two different types of audits: voluntary and mandatory.

Voluntary audits, for example, are commissioned by the entity itself to ascertain the real state of its accounts. Or in organisational development, to obtain quality certification that accredits its compliance with recognised standards

The mandatory audit is that which, for example, may be ordered by a court or the Tax Agency to check the accounts and movements carried out within the audited company or entity. And that would be used to check the legality or illegality of the same.

But there is even more to consider when we talk about what an audit is. Depending on what aspects you analyse or audit, there are a variety of different types of audits.

types of audits

Common types of audits and what they are used for

What is process auditing?

A process auditing analyses and collects data to identify the risks and opportunities of that company or entity. The aim is to have real information about the company or entity in order to develop strategic actions to improve internal management.

At Nextport we know it well because it is one of our services.

Financial audit

What is a financial audit? A financial audit is an examination of the accounts of a company or entity. Its purpose is to verify that the accounting data are consistent and not misrepresented. It includes an investigation into the actual state of the accounts and the financial situation of the audited entity at all levels.

Quality audit

What is a quality audit and what is it for? Its objective is to verify that the quality system implemented by a company achieves the established standards or objectives. And that it has the capacity to maintain them over time.

It is used, for example, to assess whether you can receive a certain quality certification or a recognised qualification. For example, an ISO certification or a Q for quality.

Equal pay audit

The equal pay audit aims to verify whether there is a pay gap between men and women in the company. And whether the equality rights required by law are being respected in the company.

What is an energy audit and what does it consist of?

It analyses and collects information on energy consumption in the company or in one of its processes, buildings or systems. Efficiency and energy flows should be studied through inspections and the collection of data on energy consumption.

Marketing audit

It analyses and evaluates strategies, actions or programmes related to marketing. The aim is to detect mistakes and successes and their profitability. The goal is to develop strategies to achieve better results in a more cost-effective way.

what is an audit


It consists of an analysis of the balance of its social action and ethical behaviour. It also evaluates the efficient use of economic, technical and human resources. Its main functions are to verify the transparency of the entity or company in these aspects.

What is an environmental audit?

Another of the most common is the environmental one. It can be commissioned or carried out for different purposes. For example, to check whether environmental legislation is being complied with. Or if you are eligible for environmental quality certification. Or to identify failures and to find out what needs to be improved in this area. Or to show the public that you really are a sustainable company or have ECO values, among other purposes.

But what is an environmental audit? One that evaluates the audited organisation’s or company’s environmental performance, achievements and position of respect and care for the environment.

Communication audit

It evaluates and diagnoses the organisation’s communication capacities, its actions and how they are perceived by the people to whom they are addressed. The purpose is usually to identify failures and successes in order to implement improvements in the company in this aspect.

What is an innovation audit?

That which assesses the company’s current situation regarding innovation. It usually consists of an analysis of the company’s innovative activities, if they exist. And what their development and results are.

Tax Audit

Its purpose is to verify that the organisation complies with the tax laws of the country or countries in which it operates. And that it is paying its taxes correctly and legally.

Other common types of audits

  • Legal
  • Administrative
  • Web accessibility
  • Forensic
  • Cybersecurity.
  • Prevention
  • Accessibility
  • Integral
  • Human resources

And there is more. Now you know what an audit is, and which are the most frequent ones. Do you think your organisation needs any of them?

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