Ten Tips for Selecting and Using a Consultant – 9. Improve your current internal audit practices

Organizations with an existing internal audit program should review their results to ensure audit objectives are being met and to identify opportunities for improvement.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are our internal audit plans and schedules being met?
  • How well are departments meeting their requirements?
  • Are our internal auditors writing good audit reports?
  • How long is it taking to close audit corrective actions?
  • What feedback are we receiving about our audits?

Use the update of your internal audit process as an opportunity to take corrective and preventive actions. Look at past audit reports and see if you are satisfied with current practices and auditor consistency.

Have training sessions with your auditors to go over previously written nonconformity statements and identify what clause references would have been used for ISO 9001:2000. Suggest to your auditors that they follow these 6 C’s for well-written statements:

  • Complete – include the specified requirement and objective evidence
  • Correct – take care to accurately and correctly convey the information
  • Concise – express the statement as briefly and succinctly as possible
  • Clear – use easy to understand and familiar words and terminology
  • Categorized – if used, identify its severity (major, minor, or concern)
  • Confirmed – verify the information needed for corrective action is stated

Of course, internal auditors must prepare audit forms and reports as prescribed by their own audit procedure. Remind them to audit for conformity (not nonconformity) and to share some positive comments in their reports to encourage improved conformity.