The process of checking accounts. Auditors check whether the accounts of a company, private trader, or association are complete and consistent, whether they agree with other records of purchases, sales, and inventories, and whether they comply with legal requirements and professional standards. Companies are legally required to have their accounts externally audited, and many other bodies are required to do so by their own constitutions. Many companies and other organizations employ internal auditors, to check the accuracy and completeness of their internal bookkeeping. The audit provides a safeguard against both fraud and incompetence in accounting. See also efficiency audit.