All audits should begin with objectives, as those objectives determine the type of audit to be conducted and the audit standards to be followed. The standards further provide that the objectives of an audit extend throughout each phase of the audit, from the selection of the scope of work and staff, to the conduct of the audit, and the timing and nature of reports.

Time invested in determining an audit’s objectives is time well spent because an audit with clear objectives is less likely to result in wasted resources, delays and poor quality reports. Once the objectives are established, the scope and methodology of the field work can be planned. Each team member should understand what the review is expected to accomplish.