Where to begin with internal audits

Internal Audits: Getting Started

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Thinking about the value of implementing an internal audit program within your business? Maybe you are going through a certification process and need to start conducting internal audits.

This article will provide some guidance about where to start and who in the business should get involved in auditing.

Where to Start with Auditing?

When planning, applying a risk-based approach to auditing makes sense. Ask yourself, what are the areas in your business that could really do with a good health check right now? Have there been any safety issues? What are the issues our customers are raising? Which processes are not currently running smoothly? Which problems just seem to keep popping up no matter what we adjust or implement?

Answering these questions will set you off on the right track as you begin to plan an audit schedule. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter where you begin. The fact you do some audits, is better than doing none. For more tips on what to audit, you can read about that in our blog ‘What to Audit’.

Process-Based Audits

You haven’t got time to audit every single twist and turn. A great way to to begin is to conduct a process-based audit, rather than many separate audits that focus on stand-alone procedures. By looking at a process within your business, it is easier to identify the gaps, overlaps and conflicts between different procedures and activities. It also will capture a range of sources of documentation that supports the management systems.

Who Should Get Involved?

The best news is that anyone in the business can get involved with internal audits. One key rule about auditing is ensuring impartiality and objectivity so you cannot audit your own work. This presents a great opportunity to enhance internal communication and encourage teamwork by auditing with your colleagues across different areas of the business.

Process owners should be consulted and involved in the audit process. Where applicable, subject matter experts should also accompany the auditor to translate and assist where necessary. The auditor does not need to be an expert in the subject being audited and in fact it is an advantage as they are less likely to bring any bias to the process.

Training staff how to conduct internal audits and educating them on the importance of participating and facilitating audits is highly valuable. With education, staff can develop a positive attitude and treat the auditing process seriously.

If you are looking to up-skill your team to conduct internal audits, the 2 day Management Systems Auditing course is currently delivered online.  Day 2 of the course is practical and can be tailored to your specific business requirements. For course dates and to register click here.

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