Summary of Audit Activities

The activities of an audit can be summarized into seven key steps:

1. Initiation – define audit objectives
2. Review – examine the documents
3. Preparation – plan for onsite activities
4. Execution – audit the quality system
5. Reporting – report the audit results

6. Completion – complete the audit plan
7. Followup – conduct the follow-up audit

1. Initiate the Audit
  • Clarify the reason for the requested audit
  • Appoint the audit team leader
  • Define the objectives, scope, and criteria
  • Determine the feasibility of the audit
  • Select the audit team members
  • Make the initial contact with the auditee

2. Review the Documentation

  • Review the documentation before the audit
  • Defer the review until onsite if not detrimental
  • Review in a preliminary site visit, if held
  • Include the relevant documents and records
  • Determine its conformity with audit criteria
  • Report any documentation concerns
  • Decide to continue audit or suspend it
3. Prepare for Audit Activities

  • Prepare the audit plan as the basis for agreement
  • Use it to schedule and coordinate the audit
  • Keep plan flexible to permit changes during the audit
  • Assign the work to the audit team members
  • Prepare the work documents: checklists, and forms
  • Confirm the audit arrangements and logistics

4. Execute the Audit Activities

  • Conduct the opening meeting
  • Establish the roles of guides and observers
  • Interview the people performing the work
  • Collect and verify sampled information
  • Communicate well and often during the audit
  • Prepare and agree on the audit conclusions
  • Conduct the closing meeting

5. Report the Audit Results

  • Prepare the audit report (audit team leader)
  • Review and approve it per the audit procedure
  • Issue the report within the agreed timeframe
  • Distribute the report to client-designated recipients
  • Maintain it as a complete, correct, clear, and concise record

6. Complete the Audit

The audit is considered “complete” when:
  • all activities in the audit plan are carried out
  • an approved audit report has been distributed
  • documents are kept or destroyed per agreement

If findings are reported, the audit is not considered “closed” until after the followup audit.

7. Conduct Audit Follow-Up
  • Conclusions may require actions by the auditee
  • Corrective actions must be taken in agreed timeframe
  • Such actions are not considered part of the audit
  • Auditee notifies the audit client when action is complete
  • Followup audit verifies the effectiveness of corrective action
  • Verification can be part of subsequent audit