An audit is a systematic investigation conducted by an independent party to assess whether an organization meets the requirements of a particular norm or standard. The purpose of the audit is to assess the reliability and integrity of the organization’s processes and to identify any shortcomings or risks. This article provides a brief description of the general course of an audit, from preparation to completion.
Prior to the audit, the Lead auditor can request preparatory documents. For example, an organization chart, management review or overview of your management system. The Lead Auditor also draws up an audit plan for the audit. This plan will be agreed with you in the weeks prior to the audit.
The audit will start on the agreed date with an opening meeting with the organization’s management. For smaller organizations, one Lead Auditor is often deployed to perform the audit, for larger organizations a Lead Auditor will manage several members within his/her audit team. In this way, the progress of the audit is kept in check and the process runs efficiently. The Lead Auditor introduces himself and any team members and explains the course of the audit, the language of the reporting, confidentiality, the possibility to ask questions, etc.
After the opening meeting, the actual audit part starts. The audit will be carried out by means of various audit techniques. It will be assessed whether the organization meets the requirements of the norm or standard through interviews, observations and checks on documents and records. Evidence is collected and verified.
The findings are reported. The conclusions are presented to the organization during the closing meeting. If necessary, points for improvement are given. Any nonconformities will be discussed with you during the closing meeting. After the closing meeting, you will be given time to deal with the nonconformities within a set period. Once everything has been completed, you will receive the certificate.