Performance Measures for Internal Audits

Internal audits determine the effectiveness of a quality management system. This assessment includes identifying process objectives, examining process measurements, and evaluating process results (effectiveness).

Internal audits may review the effectiveness of the core processes, but often overlook their own “audit” process. What types of measures might be applicable to anĀ  audit program? I have identified below some possible indicators of audit performance. Of course, only a few of these measures would likely be chosen to help judge the effectiveness of a specific audit program.

  • Percentage of internal audits conducted on schedule vs. the internal audits planned
  • Sampling rate of audits (time spent auditing vs. total operational time)
  • Percentage of “repeat” nonconformities where the related corrective actions were deemed effective
  • Percentage of nonconformities disputed by the auditee (escalated to audit management)
  • Percentage of audit reports completed on time as prescribed by the audit procedure
  • Percentage of audit reports accepted by the audit program manager without revision
  • Percentage of overdue responses to corrective action requests generated from audit nonconformities
  • Percentage of auditors this year that were auditors last year (measure of auditor turnover)
  • Percentage of nonconformities reported by internal audits compared to external audits
  • Percentage of opportunities for improvement identified in audits that are accepted and implemented
  • Survey feedback on auditor performance (from management of the audited areas)
  • Return on audit investment (expenses vs. cycle reductions, process savings, and avoided costs)

Registrars consider your internal audit program to be so important, they assess it every surveillance visit. As with any process, monitoring the performance of the audit program should help keep it stable and identify areas for improvement.

Monitoring and measuring the audit program will provide valuable input for auditor training, audit planning, and management review. And, it will allow the audit process to withstand the scrutiny of external auditors looking at its performance objectives and results.