What is Auditing System? – An Introduction to Audit Process


An Introduction to Audit Process

audit processAll effective audit process or system includes three recognizable stages:

• Pre-Audit Activities
• Audit History
• Scoping The Audit

Pre-Audit Activity

Initial preparation will assist you

• Gain an understanding of the system to be audited
• Check any previous audit history information particularly focus on corrective actions identified to highlight any ‘hot spots’
• Ensure understanding of the regulations or standards to be used in the audit
• Contact and agree audit objectives with relevant personnel
As with a business process, the success level of the outcome is primarily dependent upon the level and accuracy of the planning which had been put in beforehand. The importance of planning an audit cannot be stressed enough so proper pre-audit activity is essential to the success of the audit

Audit History

Using documented information from previous audits can be useful when preparing the audit as it will allow you to examine:

• Attitudes towards the audit process and results throughout the organization or in specific departments
• Regularity of audit activity and the time scales allocated previously
• Indication of the level of completion of corrective actions identified and the speed with which changes were implemented
• Identification of ‘hot spots’ i.e. areas where recurring problems are evident
The audit history can give the auditor some leads as to areas where attention needs to be focused during the audit. Using the response to issues raised as non-conformances in previous audits, including the time lines used in any remedial actions, the auditor can gain some sense of how the audits are viewed within a particular area. The auditor when selecting an appropriate style for interaction with the personnel during the audit can use this information.

Defining the Scope of the Audit

Scoping the audit at the outset is crucial if the audit is to be a success. The scope covers:

• System elements to be examined are defined
• Locations to be investigated are listed
• Activities covered by the audit are identified
• Time frame over which the audit will be carried out
• Standards against which conformity will be gauged will be clearly identified

The scope may be limited to fall within a specified time frame, process or product. It serves primarily to give focus to the audit and allows both the auditor and the auditee to have exact knowledge as to where the audit will take them in the organization.

Benefits of Having an Audit Scope
The outcomes of scoping an audit bring benefits to the auditors

• It provides focus
• Activities are defined
• Time lines and schedules are known

The auditees also gain from an audit scope as

• It gives some ‘pre-warning’ of focus areas
• Time lines and schedules are known
• Surprises are limited

Audit Process Flow
The following are the basic steps in the flow of an effective audit. It can be seen that the actual auditing is only one activity.

• Initial Preparation
• Detailed Planning
• Opening Meeting
• Auditing
• Reporting
• Closing Meeting
• Follow-up
So from the points above it can be seen that the process flow of an audit can be broken into three distinct stages:

• Pre-audit activity: Preparation, planning and opening meeting
• Audit activity
• Post-audit activity: Report writing, closing meeting and follow-up

This road map for the audit process makes it easy for the auditor and auditee to know where the process should be and what activities are associated with each of the phases.

Looking at Processes

When looking at processes, the auditor needs to be aware of the following:

• Process inputs
• Process outputs
• Process equipment (if any)
• Control mechanisms on the process
• Impact of any deviations.
• Resources required by / provided to the process
• Critical points in the process
• Ownership of the process
• Evidence of continuous improvement in the process

Having this level of knowledge or information allows the auditor to focus in on the main issues and avoid the trivia of the ‘old style’ audits. The business focus of the audit can be clearly defined especially when the emphasis is on the critical points of the process and not just on the overall documentation. Knowledge of the process also enhances the auditor’s credibility with the personnel involved and allows the auditor to critically evaluate any information in real time.

Looking at Products
When looking at products the auditor must be tuned into issues such as:

• Specifications of the end product
• Impact of deviations
• Supply chain issues from supplier to customer
• Product quality
• Customer satisfaction
• Life cycle stage
• Design & development

The same issues of credibility and judgment as presented in the last section on processes hold equally true here.

Previous Chapter                  Table of Contents                       Next Chapter

2 thoughts on “What is Auditing System? – An Introduction to Audit Process”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *