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Guidance - Annual Planning - Background.

Your guide to Annual Planning

Here's everything that you need.

Annual Planning is critical to ensure that you have a robust audit plan which accurately addressed the organisations risks whilst providing an appropriate level of assurance, all whilst using the resources available to you. 


This guide has been built to pull together all the various standards, tools and resources which form part of the annual planning process. This guide will walk you through from start to finish, helping you to build an audit plan efficiently and effectively. 

On this page you will find:

  • A downloadable version of our Annual Planning Guide; 

  • A step by step breakdown of each phase of the Annual Planning Guide, with links to the various templates; 

  • Links to the IIA's 'International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. (Standards)'; and

  • Links to the various resources used throughout our guide.


As always, this is only one way of performing annual planning, and any planning activities should be appropriate and relevant to the organisation. 

Your guidance document

Download your copy of the Annual Planning Guidance document  by clicking on the icon to the right. 

Alternatively, you can email us at and we will email a copy over to you right away. 

All of our Guidance documents can also be found in our document archive which is located here

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Your step by step breakdown of the Annual Planning process

Click on each number below to be taken to the relevant template which supports this part of the Annual Planning process.



The role of Internal Audit

The Internal Audit Charter sets the rules which govern both the Internal Audit function and the Audit Committee. 


The Standards, in particular, 1000 – Purpose Authority and Responsibility, sets the requirements for the Internal Audit Charter.



Internal Audit's bigger picture

Developing an audit strategy is a great way to show what the Internal Audit team does, how they do it, and how it links to the broader objectives of the organisation.



The business and our audit activities

An Audit Universe is a one stop document which includes a list of each of the organisations business areas and the audit activity associated with that area.



The business' bigger picture and how this links with the current environment and external information

Understanding the organisation strategy and plans for the upcoming year are essential in developing an appropriate and fit for purpose annual plan.



Discussing the proposed plan with management

By now, a detailed understanding of the organisations strategies, objectives, and risks has been obtained. All of this information, including the information from the external research, should be collated and updated into a revised version of the Audit Universe.



Audit activity for the next 5 yearts

A strategic plan is more than just a list of audits to be completed over the next 3 to 5 years. A strategic plan should be a reflection of everything we have learnt so far through our understanding of the company’s strategy and objectives, as well as what we have discovered through our external research, discussions with key stakeholders, and review of the current risk registers. 



Audit activity for the current year

The Annual Plan is essentially a subset of the Strategic Plan. Where the Strategic Plan focuses on audit activity planned over the next three to five years, the Annual Plan will focus only on audit activity planned for the current year. 



Presenting the plan

Presenting the Annual and Strategic Plans to the audit committee is an important mechanism for the Internal Audit function to demonstrate their skills and competencies. Presenting the plans to the audit committee must be clear and simple, yet provide sufficient information to allow the audit committee to form their own objective opinions. 

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