Internal assessments are an integral part of the audit management process. Despite the importance of this type of audit however, many companies fail to prepare properly for their auditing processes, which ultimately jeopardises the overall success of the audit. The purpose of any audit is, of course, to do a comprehensive investigation, review and assessment into specific areas of operation, procedures, documentation and other facets of the business. Internal audits focus on employee competency, while also looking at other areas that may or may not be targeted for improvement. Essentially, the aim is to evaluate the inner workings of the company to see whether everything is on track with quality goals, whether there are gaps in competency and compliance that need to be addressed, and to determine whether the company is meeting global standards for improvement. With that in mind, audits that are not conducted correctly are, needless to say, a waste of time, resources and effort. The good news is that once you have a better idea of how to improve your auditing process, you will see far more success in your efforts.
Improve Your Processes With These Audit Management Tips
How can you take your audit management to the next level? For starters, an automated system that can schedule, track and report across audits done throughout the company is essential. Some other things that will improve your auditing process include the following:
Auditors need to have a friendly, approachable demeanour.
Rather than playing ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ or trying to scare employees into sharing, you want someone who is friendly, calm and inquisitive. This will put employees at ease, and make it far easier for them to be honest and direct throughout the process. An aggressive auditor will result in defensive, angry and unhappy auditees – something that is never much use when it comes to audits.
Auditors also need to have strong attention to detail.
A focus on detail is vital, as this will make it much harder for responses and information to be missed. That does not mean nit-picking however. Rather, it means having the ability to note and understand documentation of evidence as well as references within the audit report, the ability to refer back to past audits and the ability to reconstruct audits well into the future for analysis.
Auditors should be able to review previous audits to gain historical insight.
Previous audit results are useful in reviewing issues that have been solved in specific areas or departments, in order to determine which issues have been resolved and which are ongoing. Reviewing past results helps for new assessments to provide a broader view of issues. For example, if an employee has had compliance issues in the past, it will need to be determined whether those issues have been fully resolved, or whether further action is needed.
Audit checklists are a great tool for keeping audits on track.
These should support ratings that can be linked to CAPA tasks as well as reporting. Metrics for benchmarking, compliance and competency gaps should be included. You should have a clear, documented system for audits, based on checklists that are well-defined according to your specific goals. This will make it far easier to report on progress, potential problems, compliance, training, assessments and other quality objectives that are implemented across each department and team.
Auditing teams can be extremely effective.
As active listening requires focus, it can be tricky to listen and record information at the same time. Having teams that can manage both aspects will make it easier to ensure that no details get missed. It also helps to provide fresh perspective when teams are cycled and alternated in their role of interviewer and scribe. With these tips and a good, integrated audit management system, you will soon find that you get far more from your internal audits, ensuring a rewarding process that is geared towards identifying and resolving the things holding you back from success.