Tips for Internal Audit process
Let us discuss about top tips for the internal auditing part of your management system. We've got a couple of top tips so the first is I guess lots of people ask us questions on how do I start and how do I get going with my internal audits?
1) Identify opportunities
Probably the most important thing to remember is the internal audits are part of the checking process or part of the review process but more importantly not what process they're part of but what is the objective. And the objective is to fundamentally use it as an improvement tool to identify opportunities for improvement to help you sort of prioritize what you're going to work on.
For example if you were going to the gym and doing exercise then there might be a couple of key areas that are your weaknesses that you're going to work on and that's sort of the result of maybe a self-assessment.
So an internal audit is like a self-assessment but the real value comes from when you're working in a team. So the top tip would be to think about the fact that it's to identify opportunities for improvement and identify gaps.
2) Doing it in a team
Then the second tip is about doing it in a team or certainly in a partnership. So who are the people in your organization that you could speak with or spend time with and start to review what they're doing and help them to identify opportunities for improvement. So you as the internal auditor doing the review asking the questions and those guys really thinking about what they could do to improve. So a good question is what are the sorts of things that we could look at or work on it that are really going to improve our customer service.
What are the sorts of things that upset our customers and are things that we could prioritize to really get a lot of benefit out of our quality management system. So there's a couple of examples of how we could unpack and identify some opportunities for improvement as part of an internal audit process.
3) Do comparison
So tip number three it's about the comparison. The comparison of what the organization said you would do and then what is actually happening, what you're observing so as the internal auditor it's about observing it's about looking using their ears using your eyes to actually look and observe and understand and get a good clear picture of what the organization is doing and in comparison to the guidance.
So if again if I give you a quick example we might have a policy or procedure about how we take orders or how we talk to our customers or communicate with our customers and understand what their order is or what their need is or what their scope is or what their requirements are, and then we might start to roll out that process.
so if they want a particular service or product delivered on a particular time for a particular cost and a particular quantity, how does that roll through the organization. As an auditor it's about observing what was written down and what is being delivered and you're identifying fundamentally if there's a match or a mismatch.
4) Being Impartial
Top tip four is this concept of sitting on the fence. It's about being impartial and not conveying your opinion even verbally but more importantly not with your body language.If you're like if you see something going on and you know what's going on then you're starting to pass judgment and it's really important to try and be very impartial and sit on the fence.
Because all you're looking for is what the organization said they would do and what's going on and is there a match or a mismatch.
5) Keep it simple
Top tip number five is to just keep it simple, really simple. It's about going out into your organization and asking the question “show me”. So spending time with your organization and saying can you show me what you do and I'll follow it in the processes that we've defined. So if you've got pictures or work instructions or policies or procedures you're asking your team the people you're working with. To say just show me I'm going to follow you do what you got to do you do the processes, you understand it and show me what you're doing and then I'll follow it in the instructions that have been captured.
6) Keep it short
Top tip number six and that's the last tip is “don't make them too long”, and my fundamental recommendation when you're getting started and you trying to work out what to do it's just keep it to an hour.
So divide the hour into three parts, 20 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to go and spend some time with your colleagues in the organization talking and interviewing and observing and 20 minutes to consolidate your thoughts. And maybe write a little list of the things that you saw that could be improved, opportunities for improvement.
Now the last thing about the internal audit process is that's one step of the business improvement cycle and the internal audits might feed into an improvements register, a non-conformance register, corrected preventative action register, opportunity to improve, register any of those sorts of things and that in turn feeds in to management review. That's all how it all connects together.
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