Tags Posts tagged with "internal audit"

internal audit

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SMART Goals for Internal Audits - ISOUpdate

Despite how important and often necessary internal audits are for the growth of a company, very rarely does most management take the time out to concisely list their expectations and objectives for them.
To make the most of your internal audit and reap maximum benefits from them, having precise and smart goals is essential. Not only do they save precious time for your company, but they also ensure that your audit goes smoothly and prepares you for the future.

What is a SMART Goal?

Setting strategic and attainable goals is a vital part of growing your business as they provide you with a target to work towards. Goals function as a means of motivation and help you focus on a specific task rather than a vague concept of betterment. Since they’re so important, it’s also prudent to spend time to ensure the goals you set are SMART.

Here SMART is an acronym that stands for:

Specific: The goal needs to be clear and precise. Specific goals have a higher likelihood of being accomplished than generic ones. To check if your goal is specific enough, see if it answers a few questions like “What needs to be done?” “Who will work on the documentation process?” and “What apparatus will the work involve?” These will provide you with a sense of direction regarding your goal and take the guesswork out of the process for better efficiency in your operations.

Measurable: You need to create a scale that helps measure your progress towards your goal. Having measurable goals provides an opportunity for positive feedback on the progress you have made and a source of motivation to achieve your objectives. Additionally, having well-defined goals and a means to measure them accordingly helps you identify possible setbacks and trends so you can work on these problems proactively for the future. Ask yourself questions like: “How will I know if my goal has been achieved?” “In the meantime, what are some progress indicators to look out for?”

Achievable: Needs to be within the realm of possibility to achieve. If a goal is too difficult it will quickly demotivate anyone set out to accomplish it; similarly, if a goal is too easy it’s prone to fall into a procrastination pile for the same reasons. Because of this, a smart goal must be both challenging yet achievable.

Realistic: Goals should be realistic within the set time frame. You need to give yourself enough resources to ensure the goal is achievable. Ask yourself if you’re able to commit to the goal and if it’s one that has previously been accomplished within similar parameters.

Timely: Specify a timeline that includes a set starting and ending date to complete your project. You need to remember to allow yourself ample room for error or delay while also setting reasonable time frames to create a sense of urgency so you’re more likely to start on it.

Smart Goals and Objectives for Internal Audits

When setting out to create objectives for internal audits, it’s a good idea to include a list of benefits for successfully completing the audit to help remind you of why you’re doing this. Personal goals and ambitions can be tied in with the company’s objectives here to help lend it a more personalized touch.

Prior to setting out your plan of action, brainstorm on topics such as availability of possible mentors during the process, connections and previously encountered obstacles. These may come in handy during the auditing process and help you to better understand your options.

A good general action plan may look like this:

  1. Interview management, decide audit scope while setting parameters, decide on suitable audit procedures.
  2. Test out and experiment in reference to scope decisions to ensure these are fair parameters.
  3. Study and document various systems or operations in perspective of the audit.
  4.  Identification of potential risks in operations as well as suggested changes.
  5. Communicate with management regarding the previous phase and finalize changes.
  6. Finish documentation and include findings of the audit.
  7. Include a safety buffer of timing in case of unexpected delays in the previous procedures.
  8. Successful completion of the Audit.

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Documented Information for ISO 9001:2015

As we move into the final months for transitioning to ISO 9001:2015, many companies are still asking themselves what documentation is required. Back with the 2008 release, most companies were comfortable with the six mandatory procedures that were expected of them as well as the need for a quality policy and manual. The update to 2015 has however removed the requirement for a quality manual and blurred the distinction between procedures and records.



With the new release, both documents and records are termed “documented information” and must be controlled and maintained. This is what will form the evidence required to show that you are conforming to the requirements of your quality management system.

Clause 4.4 of ISO 9001 requires your organization to maintain the documented information that is required to support the operation of your processes and to retain that information to be able to have confidence that those processes are being completed as planned.

So what is required by the standard?

The following is a clause-by-clause breakdown of what is required by the standard. However, some of these clauses can be excluded if the company does not perform the relevant processes:

Mandatory records:

  • 7.1.5.1 – Monitoring and measuring equipment calibration records
  • 7.2 – Records of training, skills, experience and qualifications
  • 8.2.3.2 – Product/service requirements review records
  • 8.3.2 – Record about design and development outputs review
  • 8.3.3 – Records about design and development inputs
  • 8.3.4 – Records of design and development controls
  • 8.3.5 – Records of design and development outputs
  • 8.3.6 – Design and development changes records
  • 8.5.1 – Characteristics of product to be produced and service to be provided
  • 8.5.3 – Records about customer property
  • 8.5.6 – Production/service provision change control records
  • 8.6 – Record of conformity of product/service with acceptance criteria
  • 8.7.2 – Record of nonconforming outputs
  • 9.1.1 – Monitoring and measurement results
  • 9.2 – Internal audit program
  • 9.2 – Results of internal audits
  • 9.3 – Results of the management review
  • 10.1 – Results of corrective actions

Other Mandatory Documents:

  • 4.3 – Scope of the QMS
  • 5.2 – Quality policy
  • 6.2 – Quality objectives
  • 8.4.1 – Criteria for evaluation and selection of suppliers

So what does this mean?

You should still tailor your quality management system to meet the requirements of your own business and all of the interested stakeholders. This can be done in any way that your organization sees fit; although a quality manual is still one of the easiest methods. As long as these processes and associated records can be shown to meet the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 effectively then that is fine. If not then the relevant action should be taken to ensure that all of the required clauses are covered.