Preparing your Organization for an Audit

To prepare an organization for an audit, managers should:

  • Become familiar with the documents for their area
  • Walk through the area for a spot check on operations
  • Verify that only valid documents are in use
  • Ensure the work areas are clean and orderly
  • Confirm that past nonconformities have been fixed
  • Brief employees on how to interact with auditors
  • Communicate a positive, learning view of the audit
For external audits requiring an escort, your guides should:

  • Know the quality system and how it operates
  • Understand the audit plan and functional areas
  • Be available by staying with the audit team
  • Clarify, not answer for the persons interviewed
  • Act as witnesses for any audit findings
  • Help keep the auditors on the planned schedule
  • Take good notes for possible follow-up actions
Of course, employees in the areas to be audited should:

  • Understand the quality policy and their role
  • Prepare by participating in internal audits
  • Know where their documents are located
  • Be able to quickly retrieve their records
  • Know how to respond to auditor questions
  • Be prepared to demonstrate their activities
  • Understand the quality objectives for their area
Employees should remember to:

  • Provide brief, honest answers to questions
  • Answer specific questions; don’t volunteer
  • Be cooperative, not misleading or defensive
  • Ask for clarification if they don’t understand
  • Refer auditor to the right person for answer
And, be prepared to answer audit questions such as:

  • What is the overall purpose of this process?
  • Please describe your job and responsibilities.
  • What are the process inputs and who supplies them?
  • What resources are needed for this process?
  • What are the process outputs and who receives them?
  • How do you know what to do?
  • What training, skill, and experience are needed?
  • Show me, or tell me, how you do it
  • How do you know if it is done right?
  • When it is not right, what do you do?
  • What records are kept of this activity?
  • How is the process controlled?
  • What are the process objectives?
  • How is the performance measured?
  • How could this process be improved?