What is an Audit Checklist?
An internal audit checklist is a very important tool used for differentiating a company’s practices and processes to the requirements set out by ISO standards. It contains everything needed by an internal audit for it to be completed accurately and efficiently.
What is an internal audit?
An ISO 9001 is a routine inspection within the company performed by an assigned auditor. The auditor assesses the company’s quality management system and processes based on the criteria provided by the latest ISO 9001 standards. The auditors that will assess your company are responsible for informing you of the areas that need improvement in order to meet certain standards in addition to the areas that are already performing well and are conforming to the standard.
Internal audits will review areas of your company. These are some of the areas that they will examine.
- Areas that need improvement
- Effectiveness and efficiency of the system
Internal audits help in preparing for an external audit.
What is an external audit?
An external audit is an examination that is administered by an independent accountant. This is usually the determining factor whether a company should receive ISO certifications or certifications of a company’s financial statements. These certified financial statements are required by certain investors and lenders, and for all publicly-held businesses.
Objectives of an external audit
- To determine the accuracy and completeness of a company’s accounting records.
- To determine if a company’s accounting records are prepared according to the applicable accounting framework.
- To determine if a company’s financial statements and financial position are presented fairly.
What are the benefits of using an audit checklist?
An audit checklist is just one of the many tools used by an auditor that help ensure your audits address the necessary requirements. An audit checklist serves as a reference point before, during, and after the audit process and if it is developed for a specific audit and used correctly, these are the benefits that a company may gain:
- Ensures that the audit process is conducted systematically.
- Promotes audit planning.
- Ensures a consistent audit approach.
- Actively supports a company’s audit process.
- Provides a storage for notes collected during the audit process.
- Ensures consistency in the performance of the auditors.
- Provides reference for a company’s objectives.
What is the process for an internal audit?
To obtain the highest success rate for a company’s internal audits, there are a few steps to follow. If these steps are followed closely, the company will have an efficient experience throughout the audit process and the best results will be obtained.
1. Scheduling the audit
Before deciding to conduct an audit for your company, make sure that your co-workers or employees are fully aware and prepared for the process. If they are not prepared or informed well, the results may not be what you wanted them to be and will not give you proper information about which areas need improvement. If you do not prepare well but push through with the audit process, it will be useless. On the other hand, if you and your co-workers are well-prepared for the process, they will have better information of what to expect during the external audit in the future.
Make sure that your projects are wrapped up before deciding to conduct an audit. Give your process managers enough time to finish their work and projects in order to gain accurate information. If you want to conduct an audit, make sure that you check in on the progress of projects among management and employees before moving to the next step.
2. Planning of audit
The next step allows you to start the audit process. To start the process, make sure that it is scheduled at a proper time. This includes conducting with the auditors that will perform the audit regarding the best time to conduct the review.
This is the most important step of the audit process because planning allows the auditors to look at the company’s audit history and review previous issues that may have been found beforehand. After reviewing your company’s audit history, the auditor will inform you of the best time to conduct the audit process.
3. Running the audit
After planning, the next step is to conduct the actual audit process. The beginning of the process is usually a reassurance to the company and the auditor that the plan is made carefully and the audit is ready to start. Many activities are done during the audit, such as the review of all company records, observing the efficiency of certain functions, detecting flaws within the system, conversations with workers, and more.
Who conducts the audit process?
The audit process is conducted by an assigned ISO 9001-trained employee(s) from inside or outside of the company or a verified auditor. Their main role is to make sure that your company’s processes are performing well and to review their findings with you. The audit process usually recommends using more than one auditor so the process goes through smoothly. If the company has a lot of members, the audit process usually has many auditors conducting it.
What are the usual types of questions included in the audit checklist?
The questions that are asked in audits are usually based on the opinions or finding of the auditors. The questions also depend on which process or systems you want to audit. Here are some of the frequently presented topics in the audit process.
Safety should always be a company’s number one priority. Auditors determine if the equipment are used safely and correctly and, workers follow safety protocol.
Having proper materials allows manufacturing quality products. This is an important area to review during the audit process.
The movements made by employees may affect efficiency, quality, and safety. Creating audit checklists often cover motion or movement related questions.
4. Workstation design and location
Audit checklists should also contain questions that assess the workstation supports safety and efficiency.
5. Process for reporting issues
An efficient process for reporting issues is very important in creating a culture of quality.
6. Documentation of processes
Documenting or filing standard work instructions is very important piece to creating an effective quality process.
The audit checklist needs to cover follow-up and action items to ensure that any non-conformances are handled properly.
How to fill out an audit checklist?
You will be provided with a table that you may fill out.
Enter the questions that must be answered during the audit process. These questions must be answerable by YES or NO
If the question cannot be answered by YES or NO, mark N/A
Provide the description of the result of the question answered.