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Audit Committee Formation – Setting Up The Audit Team

Audit Committee Formation

The Audit Committee
The team needs to be formed so as to have:

• Enough members to split the work equitably and process the audit within the defined schedule
• Capability in terms of skills and experience
• Independence
• Understanding of the business processes

audit committeeThe final requirement is for a team leader who has got:

• Excellent communication skills
• Excellent time management skills
• Effective delegation style
• High level of knowledge and intelligence
• Power and respect

The leader will have full responsibility for the completion of the audit in a professional manner. The skills outlined above are the basic pre-requisites to ensure that the person who assumes the role of leader has the competency to lead an effective and efficient audit.

Composition of the Audit Committee
The Audit Team is composed of

• Lead Auditor
• Auditors
• Guides from the auditee.

Each has a defined role to play in the successful execution of an audit.

Let’s look at each of these team roles in more detail.

Lead Auditor Responsibilities
The Lead Auditor is basically in charge of the audit from inception to close. This entails:

• Ultimate responsibility for everything that is associated with the audit
• Definition of the scope of the audit
• Involved with the selection of other team members
• Preparation of the audit plan
• Guidance of the preparation process
• Team briefing and communication
• Representation of the audit team with the auditee
• Ultimate decision-making throughout the process
• Preparation of final audit report

The role of the leader is wide and varied and success of the audit is largely dependent upon having an excellent leader. From the description of the role presented above it is easy to see how necessary it is for the leader to have the skills outlined in an earlier section.

Auditor Responsibilities.
The auditor has the following responsibilities:

• Understanding the audit process
• Being conversant with the audit plan
• Complying with the agreed audit requirements
• Planning and carrying out responsibilities as detailed and assigned by the lead auditor
• Documenting all observations clearly & accurately
• Working within the set time frame and schedule
• Maintaining a professional approach to the auditee
• Accurately reporting the results of the audit activities undertaken
• Verifying the validity of corrective actions
• Managing all relevant documents
The auditor will be deeply involved in running the actual processes associated with the audit, working as an integral part of the audit team. The requirement for accuracy, transparency, organizational skills and process / product knowledge is vital for the auditor to effectively carry out their role.

Guide’s Responsibilities
The guide is provided by the auditee so as to:

• Provide guidance to the auditors
• To assist the auditors through knowing who does what in the organization
• Knowledge of and ability to explain the Quality System
• Not to provide the answers – only guide
• To take notes on the audit activity if requested by the organization
• To assist with the flow of the audit – not to impede it
• The authority to accept non-conformances

The guide needs to be fully conversant with the facility, processes, products and people so that they can be effective in the role. In the past, guides were selected because of their ability to ‘stall’ an auditor’s progress, now auditors will act of they feel the guide is more of an impediment than a help.

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