Carrying out an audit Part 1: Have you considered these things?
A good auditor spends time planning and preparing for their audit (see article How to plan and run a smooth audit) but it is also critical to consider your personal style when approaching an auditee. As we all know, human beings do not all behave in the same way, so an auditor needs to adapt their approach to be able to engage with the auditee and get appropriate and timely information, resulting in an audit report that adds value to their organisation.
In this 3-Part series, I will discuss items to consider in preparation, interpersonal skills you must hone to be an effective auditor, and finally, how to deal with conflict situations should they arise.
As an auditor I need to feel confident that I have thought through a number of items. So, what do I need to consider?
- Make sure you have read all documents you are auditing against to familiarise yourself with the process.
- Ensure auditor’s work documents, with questions/prompts, are complete.
- Determine if you need a ‘subject matter expert’ for part of your audit.
- Is there a need for a translator or any other support required?
- Find out what the audit environment is like e.g. auditing outside, in a noisy location, in an office where the auditee can be overheard.
- Is a guide required to escort you around the premises?
- Do you need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and do you have to provide this?
- Is a safety/induction required prior to starting the audit?
- Is travel involved during the audit that needs to be factored into the planning?
- If you need to take photos or take samples of evidence, where will you get approval?
- If auditing off-site, is there space available to use for summarising audit progress?
Final words of support
To be selected as an auditor you have demonstrated certain qualities such as technical knowledge and expertise, as well as demonstrating that you are ethical, open minded and diplomatic. If you apply all these positives, your reputation as an auditor will be one of respect, and auditees will want to work with you to continually improve the organisation together.
Christine Brown is founder and managing director of Potential Unlocked, a market leader in the design of management systems that meet compliance and business requirements. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (double major in Political Science and Public Sector Management); RABQSA Lead Auditor, DiSC 5 Behaviours of a Cohesive Team accreditation; Everything DiSC accreditation, TAE 40110 Cert IV Training & Assessment & TAELLN 411.
Due to her extensive knowledge and experience, Christine is trusted by her clients for her patience, understanding and her ability to interpret compliance requirements in a straightforward, uncomplicated way. She regularly facilitates in-house and public workshops, sharing her knowledge of designing simple processes and systems, communicating effectively as an auditor, building and leading teams, and risk management.
Christine’s clients range from small business and start-ups to large organisations and government departments. Covering a broad range of industries, her clients include Boral, BAE Aerospace, Geobrugg, Tenix, West Australian Police, and the Victorian Ambulance Service.
Christine’s new initiative, The Business Performance Program, assists businesses with all major areas of business that are essential for success
For any further information on contracting in an internal auditor to conduct your audits or auditor training please refer to more Audit Tips.