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A comparison of internal audit in the private and public sectors

Jenny Goodwin (School of Accountancy, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



This paper explores similarities and differences between public sector internal auditing and its counterpart in the private sector. Features examined include organizational status, outsourcing, using internal audit as a “tour of duty” function, activities and relationships with the external auditor. The study is based on a survey of chief internal auditors in organizations in Australia and New Zealand. Results suggest that there are differences in status between internal audit in the two sectors, with public sector internal auditors less likely to report to the chief financial officer. While a similar amount of work is outsourced, public sector organizations are more likely than those in the private sector to outsource to the external auditor. There is little difference between internal audit activities and interactions with external audit in the two sectors. However, private sector internal audit is perceived to lead to a greater reduction in audit fees compared to that in the public sector.



Goodwin, J. (2004), "A comparison of internal audit in the private and public sectors", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 640-650.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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