Auditor Behavior

Confidence in the audit process and its ability to achieve the audit objectives depends on the competence of the individuals who are involved in planning and conducting audits, including auditors and audit team leaders.

All auditors should possess generic knowledge and skills, and should also be expected to possess some discipline and sector-specific knowledge and skills. Audit team leaders should have the additional knowledge and skills necessary to lead the audit team.

According to clause 7.2.2 of ISO 19011:2011, auditors should also possess the necessary qualities to enable them to act in accordance with the six principles of auditing (see the separate article on these principles in this newsletter).

According to the Auditing Guidelines standard, auditors should exhibit professional behavior during the performance of their audit activities, including being:

  • ethical
    fair, truthful, sincere, honest, and discreet
  • open-minded
    willing to consider alternative ideas or points of view
  • diplomatic
    tactful in dealing with people
  • observant
    actively observing physical surroundings and activities
  • perceptive
    aware of and able to understand situations
  • versatile
    able to readily adapt to different situations
  • tenacious
    persistent and focused on achieving objectives
  • decisive
    able to reach timely conclusions based on logical reasoning and analysis
  • self-reliant
    able to act and function independently while interacting effectively with others
  • acting with fortitude
    able to act responsibly and ethically, even though these actions may not always be popular and may sometimes result in disagreement or confrontation
  • open to improvement
    willing to learn from situations, and striving for better audit results
  • culturally sensitive
    observant and respectful to the culture of the auditee
  • collaborative
    effectively interact with others, including team members and auditee personnel

The selection of auditors should consider competence in terms of knowledge and skills, as well as, personal traits and characteristics. Potential auditors can be evaluated through interviews, training, and testing. The competence and behavior of auditor trainees can be assessed through witnessed audits and feedback from the lead auditor. Ongoing evaluations can involve solicited feedback from the managers of the audited areas.