Audit Process: 5 Expert Steps for You to Get Your Audit Right

Audit-Process$22 trillion.

That was the cost of the financial crisis to the U.S. economy. This created a less than ideal environment for any business to survive in. The period saw 200,000 small businesses vanish into a black hole of recession, engulfing 3 million jobs down with them.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: The 2008 U.S. financial crisis and the devastation it brought was the result of audit process failures. This has been concluded by The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC).

Like the FCIC, we at Process Street understand the importance of following a set audit process. Not doing so can bring devastating consequences on all scales. To country economics, right down to small businesses.

In this article, we will:

  • Define the term audit process
  • Explain why it is important to follow a set audit process
  • Outline an audit process followed by professional auditors
  • Show how you can implement this set audit process into your business for free

Read this article and action the advice we give. By doing so you will be protected from common audit process pitfalls and the resulting cataclysmic consequences. You can click on the relevant links below to jump the section of your choosing:

Alternatively, take the time to read all we, at Process Street, have to say.

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Operational Audit: Best Practices Used by the Experts

Operational Audit, Best Practices Used by the Experts

70% of all businesses fail within the first 10 years.

Business owners reading this: for every ten of you, 7 will fold.

Despite that morbid start, I begin this Process Street article looking at the operational audit. I will demonstrate how using an operational audit can refine, improve, and evolve your business operations, setting you up for business prosperity. Wouldn’t it be nice to alter the above stat to 100% business success?

A tall order but, as the Westlife song goes, Nothing is impossible – apologies if you are not a Westlife fan. I believe that optimized operational audits play a significant role in driving business success. In this article, I will explain why. You will also find out:

  1. What an operational audit is
  2. The benefits operational audits bring to Business
  3. Operational audit best practices
  4. How you can implement internal operational audits with Process Street. These will be recurring processes within your business

To jump to the relevant section, click on the links below. Alternatively, scroll down and read all to become an expert in the auditing world.

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ISO 19011:2018 Basics (8 Free Management System Audit Checklists)

internal audit

What exactly is an “audit“?

The International Organization for Standardization defines it as:

“[the] systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled.” – ISO, from ISO 19011:2018 – Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems

That’s another way of saying someone takes a look at what you’re doing, gathers some evidence, and compares that evidence to what you’re supposed to be doing (in other words, a set of clearly documented requirements).

In the case of ISO, these requirements are known as standards. ISO 9001 is a standard. ISO 14001 is a standard.

Importantly, this understanding of audit implies that there are a few main things being considered by the auditor:

  • What’s documented by the company (e.g. internal processes, policies, and SOPs)
  • Evidence gathered to support how these policies, procedures, and SOPs are implemented in practice
  • The requirements defined by the ISO standard being audited against (e.g. ISO 9001)

Audits performed by companies to assess and analyze their own management systems are known as internal audits. Many resources for guiding companies on how to perform internal audits exist, and foremost of these is the ISO 19011 standard.

For most management system standards, internal audits are an important requirement. Even guideline standards like ISO 26000 for social responsibility depend on reports to evidence the success of their implementations.

As such, ISO 19011 defines a set of guidelines; a framework for companies to plan, implement, and improve upon their audit programs, for auditing the implementation of management systems.

Since the first edition of ISO 19011 was published in 2002, many new management system standards have been published.

These standards often share a common structure, including certain requirements, terms, and definitions being used. That means ISO 19011 can be used to devise highly economic audit programs, wherein knowledge and processes can be shared and applied across various management systems.

By considering how they might take a broader approach to management system auditing and integration, companies implementing ISO management systems stand to save time, money, and confusion when preparing for and implementing internal audits.

The goal of this post is to provide a spring-board for understanding ISO 19011, and how to get started with internal ISO auditing. In this post, I’ll cover:

  • What is ISO 19011
  • 7 principles of ISO auditing
  • Different types of ISO audit
  • Key elements of an ISO audit
  • 8 free ISO audit templates

If you just want the free ISO audit templates, then here they are:

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