Performance Audit Methodology

European Court of Auditors

This e-learning course, developed by the European Court of Auditors (ECA), is designed to provide an overview on the basic principles and stages of a performance audit. It is based on the INTOSAI standards and provides practical examples of their application in different situations.

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3 Lessons

Based on INTOSAI standards and guidelines, the e-learning course is designed to get an overview on the basic principles and stages of a performance audit. The introduction will include the concept of the three Es (economy, efficiency, and effectiveness), the differences between a performance audit and other types of audits, reviews, and evaluations. Then, the four stages of a performance audit are covered in more detail:

  • Selecting & understanding a performance audit: Following the steps to identify an audit area, understand it, and define precise audit questions to be answered by the audit;
  • Designing a performance audit: How to design the audit by defining the necessary audit evidence, identifying possible audit tools for its collection and analysis, and preparing an audit planning document;
  • Conducting a performance audit: How best to collect and analyse data, establish the audit evidence, manage the audit, and control for quality; and finally
  • Reporting & follow-up on a performance audit: Appreciating the methods involved in reporting, like drafting conclusions and recommendations, structuring and publishing the report, and the carrying out follow-up on a performance audit.

For each stage, the course provides an overview and introduces some tools that can help auditors to implement a performance audit successfully. At the end of each module, participants can take a final test to assess what they have learned.


  • The opening lesson provides the scope and background of the course
  • The course modules cover the phases of a performance audit
  • The closing lesson provides a recap and follow-up on the course discussion