5 tips for the last stages of audit preparation


David Ridley

(Header photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

It can be busy and stressful preparing for an external audit; especially in the final stages. 

Here are 5 tips to consider for the last part of your audit preparation:

1. Does everyone know what they're doing?

Make sure everyone knows what they have to do and remember to include senior management. Even those not directly involved in the audit may need to contribute in some way.

Is anyone offsite or on annual leave during the audit? Consider how that might affect the assessment visit and check that anyone providing cover knows what to do.

2. Take a moment to assess your progress

Take a step back and assess where you’re up to. There will most likely be some nonconformities which were found during your gap analysis assessments—have they been addressed?

Be honest; consider the effectiveness of the actions you’re taking and whether you need to adjust your approach. 

Rethink your priorities and adjust your plan, if necessary.

3. Use visual management systems

Use visual management systems make progress visible to the team, especially outstanding actions and nonconformities. This will encourage communication and help people see their contribution to getting ‘audit ready’. In addition, showing success on closed nonconformities or areas of conformity is a great way to help the team see how things have improved and boost morale.

4. Brief your team

Brief your team on the process and what to expect to help with any audit nerves. Explain to your team how the auditors will operate and the types of questions to expect.

Share the agenda for the audit and highlight any areas the auditors may want to focus on.

5. Prepare your team to assist the auditors

Make sure your team can find evidence quickly and easily to support their answers to auditors’ questions.

Educate your team on how to answer auditors’ questions.  As a rule of thumb, answer questions honestly to give the auditors the information they need; however, be conscious of how your answers may open other lines of investigation or questioning (audit trails)—sometimes people talk too much when they are nervous or want to please the auditor or manager in the room!

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Ridley & Company are experienced in implementing quality management systems such as ISO 9001 and in preparing for audits. If you are preparing for a quality management systems audit and need some support, Ridley & Company can help.

Contact us to see how we can help you implement and maintain an effective quality management system and achieve certification.