An Internal Audit is a mandatory requirement in all ISO Management System Standards. An Internal Audit program can act as a powerful tool to ensure an organization is meeting requirements effectively – and identify process improvement opportunities. This can help a company streamline processes to move faster and more efficiently. Effective Internal Audits can give management important insights into process compliance issues and help them take pro-active measures.
How Can I Conduct an Effective Internal Audit?
Conducting an effective audit is in the best interest of the company, and for you, as an auditor. Following these simple guidelines and suggestions will ensure you have success with each audit.
Remain Independence and Objectivity
The Internal Audit activity must be independent, and you, as an Internal Auditors, must be objective in performing your work. Auditors assigned for a department should not have any personal or professional association with the work being audited. Remaining independent and objective is required to ensure the auditor can conduct audit without bias and report all relevant non-conformities.
The auditor needs to look at all evidences objectively to determine audit findings. Avoid being judgmental and do not be influenced by others.
Relevant Experience & Knowledge
ISO 19011 defines an auditor as a person with the competence to conduct an audit. Competence is demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills.
While assigning an auditor, an organization will be careful, paying close attention to skills, training, and years of experience in the industry. An auditor with inadequate experience and knowledge will not justify the intent for which audits are conducted.
Plan in Advance
Insufficient time allocated for an audit may result in audits getting conducted in a rush – and this can significantly drop the quality in your audit, and your reputation. Audits need to be planned in advance and allowed adequate time allocated based on the complexity of work being carried out.
Planning in advance and allowing for sufficient time also ensures process owners can respond to non-conformities and address them before they face external audits.
Ensure each Audit report you submit is clear, concise, and complete in all respects.
The aim of audit is not only to highlight non-conformity; the aim is also to identify process improvements and best practices. The real value-add that audits can make is through identification of process improvements and best practices. This helps organizations optimize their processes and utilize the best practices across the organization.
Internal Audits give an objective assurance to the management that the existing controls are adequate to ensure all requirements are met. An effective Internal Audit can help an organization to further improve its systems.
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To the novice quality manager, ISO jargon can be extremely overwhelming. What is an NCR? What do you mean by OFI? Are we certified or accredited? But before you go and pull out your hair, let’s take a moment to go over some of the most frequently used terms and their definitions with regards to ISO and Management System Certification.