What is an ISO Internal Audit?
Internal audits are a key requirement of reaching and maintaining ISO certification.. Although businesses can conduct their internal audit in-house, outsourcing all or part of this service will often prove to be quicker and more efficient, while also providing fresh/industry best practice insights that help your business improve.
What does the Internal Auditing Process Involve?
Generally, an ISO internal auditor will assess your management systems against:
- The ISO standard requirements: such as this sample covered by ICS, ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 14001, IATF 16949, ISO 27001 and ISO 13485 standards. The requirements that your business’ current processes are tested against will vary depending on the specific standard you are aiming to gain compliance with.
- Level of compliance of your own internal processes: this will ensure that your business is mitigating its risk and is following systems designed to help you meet your organisational objectives.
The ISO consultant will then document their findings and make suggestions of actions to improve in the audit report. To help you gain a better idea of what to expect, we have created a sample ISO internal audit report.
An internal audit of a quality management systeman IMS (e.g. a Quality management system in the case of ISO 9001) is performed to answer some of the following questions:
- Are you meeting the ISO standard requirements sufficiently to pass your next external audit?
- Are you efficient and effective in what you do in your business?
- Is your business doing what it says it does?
- Are there any unidentified hazards?
- Is risk being managed effectively?
- Are your controls effective?
- Do your products conform to any required specifications?
- Is your management system complete, established and effective and continually improving and managing feedback effectively?
- Are you meeting the standards required by you and your customers?
Why Should we get our System Audited by an ISO Internal Auditor?
Could your organisation benefit from professional assistance when performing an ISO system audit? When making this decision, you may want to consider the following:
- Performing a quality assurance review or internal audit on your company can provide you with valuable information about how to streamline your systems, minimize waste, manage risk and increase efficiency which, in the end, will save you time and money.
- Having an ISO internal audit done regularly is also a requirement for achieving certification to most ISO standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 or ISO 27001.
- ISO consultants who are experienced in your industry can provide you with a uniquely valuable, independent perspective on your business processes and can give great advice on how you can improve and be more competitive. This can, in turn, help you solve long-standing problems and prevent future ones without engaging in lengthy and costly internal projects.
What are the Benefits of Getting your ISO Internal Audit done by a Consultant?
- Saved staff time and resources: Experienced specialists will audit your whole system in a fraction of the time your company would take, freeing up your employees to do the core work of the business.
- Reduced costs: By using consultants, you can reduce the financial and time investment required in training staff – especially when Standards change or personnel leave.
- Confidentiality: High-level management documents can be appropriately assessed by external consultants where it would be inappropriate for other staff in the company to do so.
- Independence: Our professional consultants will be able to assess the gaps in your system without getting involved in company politics.
- A fresh perspective: Consultants can offer a helicopter view and fresh input particularly where no solutions seem apparent to a chronic problem.
- A way forward: Your consultant can document a range of business improvement suggestions in the internal audit report with action items for you to follow step by step.
What Difficulties do Businesses Typically Face when Completing an ISO Internal Audit Themselves?
When completing ISO internal audits themselves, there is the potential for organisations to face a number of common difficulties. In our time providing professional auditing assistance, we have noticed the following:
- Time/ Cost Constraints can be Daunting: at Integrated Compliance Solutions, we believe that an ISO internal audit should be viewed as an investment. By completing such audits your business can address any inefficiencies or risks promptly, helping to lower ongoing costs. If this is a concern of yours, we can work with you to ensure the ROI on your internal audits far outweighs the cost while freeing up your staff’s time to return to their core activities.
- Lack of Interest in/ Value from audits: The most common reason for companies to seek external help with audits is that there is a perception that little value is being achieved by the audits. This is normally due to lack of training, experience or interest on behalf of the audit team. It is important for internal auditors to be properly trained- normally through a registered auditor course. Further mentoring from a qualified auditor as part of an internal audit program can also be very helpful. Many companies supplement their internal program with a couple of audits per year from an external auditor who can uncover opportunities for improvement that are not obvious to those who are too close to the process.
- Resistance to Audit Findings: an ISO internal audit is completed to help you improve business processes and any suggestions made should be viewed as opportunities. Rather than using an accusatory tone when communicating results, focus on systems and empower employees to work cooperatively towards clear, shared objectives. It can be a challenge for employees to deliver audit findings- especially to those at management level. Using a tactful, skilled external consultant can help your team to take on feedback and desired changes more easily.
- Lack of Adequate Communication Systems: once having completed an ISO internal audit, it is essential that everyone in your organisation is made aware of the required changes. If you do not currently have effective communication channels in place, you will likely experience great difficulty trying to make suggested improvements. This will, essentially, defeat the purpose of having done such audits in the first place. At Integrated Compliance Solutions, we can help to ensure that the correct processes are in place so that your organisation can rollout any changes as seamlessly as possible.
The difference between an ISO internal audit and a healthcheck audit
An ISO internal audit is a systematic evaluation of an organisation’s processes and practices against specific ISO standards, conducted periodically to ensure ongoing compliance and effectiveness. It focuses on detailed assessments of documented procedures and aims to identify non-conformities for corrective action.
Alternatively, an ISO healthcheck audit assesses a company’s readiness for ISO certification, identifying potential system gaps and weaknesses before pursuing formal certification. While healthcheck audits are typically completed as a preliminary step to gauge readiness, internal audits are recurring reviews to maintain compliance.
Get in Touch With us Today
If you think your company could benefit from an internal quality audit, get in touch with our expert team today by calling 1300 132 745. Our ISO internal auditors are available Australia-wide to provide comprehensive and reliable solutions you can count on.
Not What You’re After?
We offer a number of different auditing services. If an ISO internal audit doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for, one of the following may be more applicable:
- ISO Internal Audits: determines if a business’ management systems are compliant with ISO best-practice standards and internal protocols and pinpoints potential areas of improvement.
- ISO Healthcheck Audit: helps organisations determine their current level of compliance before undergoing an external (3rd party) Certification Body audit.
- ISO Supplier Audits: analyses and verifies the extent to which suppliers comply with relevant customer requirements.
- ISO Gap Analysis: identifies any discrepancies between a business’ existing systems and relevant ISO standard requirements. A comprehensive plan detailing how to address these gaps is then created and actioned.
Alternatively, contact our consultants who can provide you with expert guidance and help you find the type of auditing that’s best suited to your business’ needs.