Code Review vs Code Audit: A Comparison Guide

Almost no industry today has remained untouched by informational technologies. Software is a cornerstone for multiple sectors from education and trade to entertainment and daily activities. Yet, business owners tend to undervalue the importance of code quality when integrating a custom solution, as they are more concerned about product release deadlines and potential profit. Still, the code is a crucial element in developing software as the performance and reliability of the system are greatly dependent on it.  

Maintaining flawless code throughout the software lifecycle is not easy, but it is essential for the system’s efficient running. A poor-quality code results in increased time and costs of development and a negative customer experience. Still, 20% of bugs remain undetected and pass to the release stage, based on the Codeit estimates. The Rollbar research shows that developers spend 25% to 75% of their working time fixing new and existing errors. 

For the system to run seamlessly and stay free of vulnerabilities, one should resort to a comprehensive inspection – code review and audit.

reviewing code

Defining the notions

Code Review

The procedure is designed to check and report on the code quality and performance, allowing for fixing bugs. The final feedback informs whether there is a necessity for any corrections or whether the product is ready for testing and release. The review may be conducted either as an informal peer-to-peer talk or as a stage of the workflow, bringing together the team members with their roles.

Some IT companies believe that only a team lead or a senior developer should perform this check, but the best outcomes are observed when all the developers take part in the process, which fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and learning and ensures a broader understanding of the tasks.

. Code Audit

It is an independent external expert or a tool that performs a comprehensive inspection of such kind. The audit shows whether the code functions properly and corresponds to the standards. It aims at checking the state of product licenses, risks, and security weaknesses. It reveals unobvious problems, uncovers performance gaps, and checks for compliance with copyright. The audit may furnish evidence of the code quality that will help service providers win the trust of their customers, earn a reputation, and increase the cost of their products. The procedure allows for detecting and fixing numerous errors and security vulnerabilities before the product is sold, which saves time and money spent on eliminating them. The earlier the problem is caught, the easier and cheaper the correction.


Inspecting the code quality within the frames of the audit and review may result in the improvement of the system and the detection of issues to be tackled. Applying the above methods gives an all-sided examination and detailed feedback. The procedures promote learning, arising from the collaboration of experts and developers, often resulting in a positive exchange of experience.


Code review and code audit differ in their purpose, scale, and outcomes. The first is typically performed on a smaller scale but more frequently. It can be done for a single feature analysis or a bug fix before a merger or code deployment. In contrast, the second is performed less often – once a year before a merger or an acquisition, but it is larger in scale and may be conducted to inspect the entire code base.

Understanding the above, it becomes clear that the procedures under consideration require various approaches and methods implemented to get a highly reliable result. 

Let’s begin with the audit that generally involves the following:

  • A frontend code review that allows for analyzing the possible impact of the existing code on end-user experience (speed of data loading and quality of functioning on different devices);
  • A backend code review, which gives the observation of product interaction with other tools, security gaps, comparison with standards, and a verdict on the level of the code stability;
  • An infrastructure review that inspects numerous aspects of the system’s functioning, such as compliance with regulations, hardware, software, and others.

To avoid getting lost among thousands of code lines, professionals tend to split the product into blocks to be analyzed individually before inspecting the entire product. Afterward, the specialists familiarize themselves with code structure and functionality to catch obvious bugs. The following steps cover in-depth manual work to inspect frontend, backend, and infrastructure code. Final actions include documenting the results with discovered problems and recommendations for elimination.  

As well as its counterpart, the code review process starts with determining its targets and tools for reaching them. The next stage involves finding the cases that the code might fail to handle correctly, reviewing the code functioning under various conditions, and looking for errors, code duplications, and dependencies.

Special attention within the frames of the review is paid to the code readability (whether it’s easy or hard to read), modularity (assessing the structure), and extensibility (whether it’s simpler to add new functions or change the existing ones). The process always ends with solid feedback that may be used by developers to achieve the best code quality.

Summing up

Releasing a product without code review or audit might occur but always involves certain risks. Trusted IT service providers have made both methods a part of product development. Timely review and audit prevent the loss of reputation, time, and money, enhancing customer experience and profit.