Performing Audits

Performing the audit is what most people think of when the think of auditing.

This is the topic covered in Section 6 of ISO 19011.

The typical audit activities include –

  • Initiating the audit
  • Preparing for the audit
  • Conducting the audit
  • Preparing the audit report
  • Audit follow-up activities – depending on the nature of the audit

Initiating the Audit

This task is all about determining if the audit is a “go” or “no go.”

It focuses on communication between and among the parties involved in the audit in some way – for establishing the audit scope, providing relevant information for the auditors to review, arranging for access to facilities or paying the bill.

One of the important tasks to be performed is determining that the audit objectives established for the audit can be achieved – that the audit is feasible.

Preparing for the Audit

Once the audit is “a go,” an audit plan needs to be developed.

This audit plan should be in writing and have the amount of detail necessary to search as the “game plan” for the audit team members.  The content and complexity of the audit plan depends on the nature and complexity of the audit.

Conducting the Audit

There are a number of activities that are routinely done during an audit –  opening and closing meetings, site tour, document and record review, coordinating and communicating audit activities and generating audit findings and conclusions.

The inclusion and formality of these activities depend on the type of audit being performed and the size and complexity of the audit.

It is important that you do not lose focus on the most important part of the audit – the collection and analysis of verifiable audit evidence.

Preparing the Audit Report

The results of a management system audit need to documented.

Often this is done in a formal audit report.  Section 6.5.1 of ISO 19011 sets out a list of the information that is commonly included.

The important thing to remember is that the audit report – whether a formal report or just results entered into a database – needs to provide a complete, accurate, concise and clear record of the audit performed.

 Audit Follow-up

Audits are often conducted as part of an overall management system.  When this is the case, the output of the audit – the audit findings – are typically inputs to other management system process – usually the corrective action processes.

It is particularly important that negative findings be addressed appropriately, especially for internal audits.

Last updated 9/2/2016 

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