The internal audit process is essential for any organization that aims to maintain and improve their management system(s). However, achieving an effective internal audit process can be a challenge, especially for small and medium-size organizations.
Audits need to be performed by trained and qualified auditors with the sufficient knowledge of the standard being used in order to ensure independence and objectivity. Some organizations do not have the time or budget to train existing workers to become their internal auditors or to employ someone with the required skills to perform these audits.
For those organizations, contracting out their internal audits is a feasible option. Some of the benefits organizations can obtain by doing so are:
- Assure independence. Independence is likely to increase when the auditor does not belong to the organization. In some cases when a close relationship exists between auditors and auditees, independence and objectivity may be jeopardized.
- Assure knowledge and skills. Most auditors from external organizations have years of training and experience. These auditors not only have the technical skills, but they also follow strict ethical guidelines.
- Reduce costs. Employing an expert to perform the organization’s internal audits can be expensive. Contracting out will reduce the overall cost of internal audits.
- Assure an up-to-date knowledge. As any other market, the internal audit market is competitive. This drives audit organizations to become more efficient and constantly improve the services they offer, which benefits the organization being audited.
- Efficient use of time. Internal audits are time consuming. When they are outsourced, management has more time to focus on the core activities of their business.
- Decrease the risk of disrupting internal audit. If an organization relies on one person to perform internal audits, a reliance on that person is created, which increases the vulnerability of process. This risk is reduced when the process is outsourced.
Outsourcing internal audits is an option that should be considered by small and medium-size organizations. However, each organization has its particular needs and circumstances and they should assess if it would suit them better to outsource internal audits or to create their own auditing team.
There are many organizations that offer audit services, and choosing one is a decision that should not be taken lightly. The time spent choosing the right one will assure an independent and objective audit which will contribute to the improvement of the organization’s management system(s).
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.