The importance of a formal, documented approach and methodology as part of the audit process is wellrecognised.
In South Africa, only a few national departments have dedicated performance audit sections within
the Internal Audit Function (IAF), and limited performance audits are being conducted. The limited execution of
performance audits and the lack of information on performance audit methodologies adopted within the public
sector by IAFs prompted this research. The research objective was to identify the differences in the
performance audit planning practices followed by internal auditors within the South African public sector, as
well as the reasons behind these differences, by critically comparing the performance audit methodologies
within the IAFs in selected national departments with the methodology followed by the AGSA. The results
indicated that, although differences do exist between the performance audit planning practices of these
institutions and those of the AGSA, numerous similarities also exist. Research on the different planning
activities prescribed by the methodologies adopted by national departments and the AGSA provides valuable
information that may contribute to the growth of the performance audit discipline in the public sector and could
enable the performance audit process itself to become more effective and efficient. It is recommended that
national departments and the AGSA consider these differences and the rationale behind these differences
when compiling or updating their performance audit methodology.