A Checklist for Your Internal Management Audit Processes

Nobody ever looks forward to an audit, but they can happen at any given time. This is why it is vital that senior management is ready for such an event. So much so, in fact, that the official recommendation is now for organizations to install audit trail software and for them to run a test project on themselves by auditing their senior management department. This audit will look at the availability of resources, whether communication is effective, whether the right policies and procedures are in place, and whether strategic planning is conducted properly. Running a senior management audit is quite a sensitive issue. The reality is, however, that managers should lead by example and ensuring they prove their effectiveness through an audit is good for an organization.

How to Conduct a Top Management Audit

One way to audit top management is by using an internal audit planning approach that is formal and risk-based. This is also recommended by ISO 9001, so a very good starting point. Give management a degree of ownership of the entire process by ensuring they are part of the planning process. At the end of the day, an audit does not set out to punish, but rather to find areas for improvement.

Below is a list of the things that managers should do. This should be a checklist that is present at all times during the audit itself. In an ideal world, after every “management should…”, top leaders should be able to indicate that they are actually are. The checklist shows that managers should:

  1. Be fully committed.
  2. Be focused on the customer.
  3. Have a quality policy in place.
  4. Have quality objectives in place.
  5. Have a planning system for quality management in place.
  6. Be responsible and have authority.
  7. Be representative of how the company should be managed.
  8. Have internal communication policies in place.
  9. Regularly review management process.

What Happens in the Audit

While conducting an audit, the designated auditor will have to find evidence that top leaders are committed to the entire quality management system. They should look at the quality manual and what this expects of management, after which they should look at how these things are accomplished. An auditor should then look for objective, independent evidence to prove that the processes are as described. Most of the time, this evidence is hard to find and that is an eye-opener for everybody involved.

An audit needs to be seen as a mathematical equation:

  • Objectives, policies, and procedures are an input.
  • Evidence is an output.
  • Input and output should be equal for a positive audit score.

The Final Report

It is very important that a report is presented on the internal audit once it is completed, and a presentation should be held on this. This may include an executive summary, which is usually written by a top manager, however. If there is a requirement for this, the relevant top manager can only be the CEO.

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