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Related to internal audit: internal control
The process of reviewing business activities in-house to identify inefficiencies, reduce costs, and otherwise achieve organizational objectives. Internal audits may investigate potential theft or fraud and ensure compliance with applicable regulations and policies. They also assist in risk management. In a large company, especially a publicly traded one, internal auditing is conducted by a board independent from any management and answerable only to an audit committee, a subcommittee on the board of directors. The growth of internal audits accelerated following the 2002 passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which increased the accounting regulations for public companies.
The examination of a company's records and reports by its employees. Internal audits are usually intended to prevent fraud and to ensure compliance with board directives and management policies. In contrast, the financial statements presented to stockholders are typically prepared by outside parties to ensure absolute objectivity. Compare external audit.