Carrying out internal audits yourself will give you confidence knowing your business is running how it should.
Internal audits are a way of verifying the good work you do every day. An internal audit helps businesses to decide if a process is documented accurately, correctly implemented and effectively maintained. By looking at how things are done and comparing them with how they should be done, you can identify areas for improvement.
They highlight areas where things may not be working quite as well as you thought so you can take action and make continual improvements. Audits can focus on areas that really matter to your business.
Before you get going you will need to decide the following:
- Who will carry out the audit and when – auditors need to be diplomatic, observant and organised. You may prefer to have someone from a different section or area to carry out the audit so they are impartial. Audits take time so they need to be planned to give the auditor time to cover all areas – they may be quarterly or every six months you decide.
- What areas will be included in the audit – depending on the size of your business you may wish to break the audits down into processes or departments. You may wish for some areas to be audited more often than others.
- How will the audit be carried out – Internal Audits require information from a variety of different sources to confirm that processes are being followed correctly. To achieve this, some or all of the following methods may be used:
- Studying the documented procedures
- Spot checks -observing practices and procedures being carried out
- Looking at evidence of monitoring records and similar documents such as training records
- Testing knowledge by talking to other members of staff
- What will you do with the results – when the audit is finished you should write up a report explaining what was wrong and why and give a clear explanation of what corrective action is needed and a target time. You may wish to colour code the findings, red for urgent for example. A quick chat with the manager afterwards to brief them on your findings is usual and any urgent matters can be raised immediately.
- How will you make sure corrective actions take place – you must make sure that you highlight in the report who you expect to put things right. Different areas of your business may have different section managers. No one should be in any doubt what is needed to be done and who is responsible.
If you would like help in starting up internal audits please contact us: We run short courses in auditing skills or we can provide an experienced auditor to visit – contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Percipio Training also run the Highfield Level 3 Award in Effective Auditing and Inspection Skills.