Firms looking to implement management systems such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 or ISO 13485 will need to perform an internal audit on their business in order to discover whether they are able to reach the required standards. As these audits are essential in achieving the right standards, it is imperative that businesses are using high quality auditors in order to see what areas of their business are working well and what areas need improvement.
Why does my business need an audit?
An audit is an independent, systematic process undertaken by auditors in order to objectively find out whether a business’ audit criteria are satisfied. As the process is systematic, it should be easily repeatable by a number of auditors and ensures standards of auditing are maintained regardless of auditor. Overall, an audit is essential in helping organisations to maintain (or improve) their performance in certain departments, helping them to achieve international standards.
It is essential that the audit is documented from the planning stage to the conclusion as it needs to reviewed by an objective party. As we can see, the need for an experienced, high quality auditor is crucial; so much so that internal auditor training may be required in order to carry out the task.
How should a business and an auditor prepare for an audit?
As a high quality auditor, you need to ensure that you have an overarching vision and plan of the process before even beginning the audit. On the other side of the coin, businesses should ensure their auditor understands the areas he/she is going to assess and be able to resolve any queries the auditor has. This way, each party knows exactly what they want to achieve from the audit.
High quality auditors should also hold exceptional communication skills as any misunderstanding could cause difficulties down the line and, overall, be extremely harmful to the outcome. The responsibility of avoiding such a disaster lies on the auditor, so repeating a question or a certain activity in order to obtain the correct information is necessary. Furthermore, high quality auditors should not be worried by extended periods of silence or deliberation as it is important to obtain the necessary information from individuals being questioned.
As the role of an auditor is to question and evaluate business competencies, high levels of tolerance, tact and communication are required. In this respect, businesses need to ensure they have selected the best person for job, especially when international competencies like ISO 9001 could be on the line.
Overall, the importance of a high quality auditor should not be understated. As auditing helps businesses run smoothly, training and planning on both sides – business-side and auditor-side – should be undertaken in order to ensure both parties achieve exactly what they need from the assessment. Furthermore, a successful audit can help businesses achieve their full potential – whether that’s streamlining efficiency, cutting costs or other improvements. As a result, audits should be executed correctly in a professional manner from beginning to end – a process a high quality auditor should be able to deliver.