What is Authority in a QMS?

What is an Internal Audit?

Internal audits are performed to evaluate the efficacy of management system adoption. These may include financial, quality, health and safety, environmental, food safety, and/or information security management systems. They can be a highly useful tool for fine-tuning your systems, particularly if your auditors are qualified to assist you in identifying remedial actions and improvements.
Internal auditing can have a restricted or broad scope, as well as short or long duration. You get to choose the scope of the project and what it should include.

There are numerous topics that can be discussed, including:

  • Governance
  • Management of risks
  • Management is in charge of the situation.
  • Hazards

The list is nearly limitless.

This article describes how to conduct an audit.

It’s vital to understand that your internal auditors aren’t in charge of ensuring that your company’s corrective actions are carried out. The auditor will make recommendations to the auditee on how to enhance their processes, which will then be passed on to someone else.

Internal audits have several advantages:

1. They assist in assuring your consumers that your management processes are up to par.

2. They assist in comparing the actual practice to a set of acknowledged good practice norms.

3. Able to compare your processes and practices to ideal procedures and make necessary adjustments.

4. Allows you to track your progress toward your objectives.

5. The results of your internal audit should suggest whether or not you are ready for an external audit.


How to Conduct an Internal Audit:

There are various steps to perform an internal audit, but here is a starting point for performing an audit.

1. Plan an Audit Schedule

This initial step is significant. You really want to design the audits ahead of time so everybody realizes what is being inspected and can prepare. This schedule ought to be accessible for anybody to see with the goal that they can know at whatever point an audit will be conducted regarding a particular interaction. An audit schedule will take into consideration representatives identified with the process or task being inspected to have the opportunity to have things working at the most ideal norm. It is suggested that you share the audit schedule and stick to it as most ideal, as a surprise audit can at times create a feeling of unfairness within the organisation.

2. Creating an Audit Plan

As with most things in life, preparation is the key. Auditing is no exception to this rule, and it is very important that the auditor has a clear understanding of what they are auditing. This phase is also useful for the department under review as the auditor can provide information about the intent behind the audit, the scope of the inspection and request the necessary documents before arriving to conduct the audit inspection.  At this stage, it may also be helpful for the auditor to review previous audits by the same department to determine if previous issues need to be followed up.

3. Conducting Audits and Reporting

After a schedule has been settled upon, and a plan set around what the audit sets out to do, it’s now time to conduct the audit. This progression can take a few different methods, for example, documentation reviews, meetings, interviews, and, conversing with employees, audit and investigation of records. The objective of this stage is to find and record any discoveries that show the process is working in the manner it is set out to, and really produces the desired outcomes.

If the inspector is going to use the questioning technique, they should use appropriate questions. This implies the inquiries should be:

‘Open’ to acquire data (start with – “who”, “what”, “how, “why”).

‘Closed’ to get affirmation (replied by “yes” or “no”).

“Clarifying” when you feel you may have misunderstood (examples include “show me…”, “Can I see…”, “let’s take a look at…”).

Another helpful suggestion for the auditor is to avoid regurgitating questions from a checklist. For an audit to be successful, people need to be open to the auditor. Furthermore, they encourage everyone to think deeply about their work and the world around them. These kinds of feedback are much more difficult to achieve via checklists (which were initially designed to be simple memory joggers). Checklists are not relevant here. Instead, ask questions, listen to evidence, and record it. Then review the findings against the procedure.

4. Report findings

In order to share the main findings of the audit between the auditor and the auditee, a meeting will need to take place after the audit is completed. The goal is to ensure that there are no delays in communicating the findings between the parties. Reports here will be concerned with identifying any areas for improvement, and auditors may also want to know if any areas are excelling. Formal reports should identify the key findings. auditees can then go back any time and see what modifications they might be able to make on the hard copy.

Including pictures in your audit could also be beneficial. It’s true that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, so this also applies to internal audits. You will save more time by taking a quick photo of what you have observed instead of explaining it in detail. Then you can write a short description of what the photo shows .

This report should include the following main findings:

objective, scope, references, and audit team for the audit, audit schedule, people interviewed, documentation reviewed, equipment and resources inspected, positive and negative findings that were found in the audit.

If there are deficiencies.
The report should also be discussed with the auditee to ensure they accept the findings of the report. This doesn’t imply that the auditee is glad to “acknowledge” what’s in your report. It implies that they comprehend and acknowledge the legitimacy of the true proof that you’ve collected during the review. It’s not in every case simple for the board to hear input about framework disappointments, dissatisfactions and inadequacies. However, it is extremely significant as a SHEQ is proficient.

5. Following Up

This stage is crucial as it will assist with showing whether upgrades have really been made or not. When writing about what should be changed or transformed, have at the top of the priority list a time frame that would be reasonable for a development. There is no real reason for revealing your discoveries to the auditee if you are not going to check whether they have listened and taken action. When thinking about what should be followed up, the auditor should assess whether what they found was in accordance with what was generally anticipated, and if not what action should be taken.

Who should conduct Internal Audits? 

Due to auditing being a specialised skill not everybody can conduct internal audits. Long before the internal audits are even required, you must choose employees that will be appropriate to urge training around auditing.
This may be employees with higher levels of education or qualified skilled backgrounds. the inner auditor ought to have robust analytical and demanding thinking skills, moreover as being a decent human.

Auditors ought to additionally be:
Good communicators
Good judges

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