An audit is an "independent examination of financial information of any entity, whether profit oriented or not, irrespective of its size or legal form when such an examination is conducted with a view to express an opinion thereon"  It also attempts to ensure that the books of accounts are properly maintained by the concern as required by law. Auditing has become such a ubiquitous phenomenon in the corporate and the public sector that academics have started identifying an "Audit Society". Auditors perceive and recognize the propositions before them examination, obtain evidence, evaluate the same and formulate an opinion on the basis of their judgement which is communicated through their auditing report.
Any subject matter may be audited. Audit is a safeguard measure since ancient times (Loeb & Shamoo, 1989). Audits provide third-party assurance to various stakeholders that the subject matter is free from material misstatement. The term is most frequently applied to audits of the financial information relating to a legal person. Other commonly audited areas include: secretarial and compliance, internal controls, quality management, project management, water management, and energy conservation.
As a result of an audit, stakeholders may effectively evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and the governance process over the subject matter.
The word "audit" derives from the Latin word audire which means "to hear".