Why Does Your Business Need an Internal Audit Before ISO Certification?

Many businesses do not realize the importance of performing an internal audit for their management systems. The purpose of an internal audit is to assess the competence of your organization’s quality management system and overall performance. The audit reports will check the compliance level of your implemented management system and demonstrate whether it needs to be further improved. According to many quality assurance experts, an internal audit is needed to ensure the regulatory compliance of a management system and evaluate organization processes to identify and manage risks.

Internal auditing is a constructive tool that you can use to achieve international compliance with ISO regulations while accomplishing efficient performance. The experts say it is an opportunity for the business to reflect and confirm these following aspects:

• Are they progressing smoothly with their ISO and other regulatory compliance goals?
• Are there any risks in the business? Did they adopt effective practices or policies to deal with them?
• Are they working continuously to improve their management system and eliminate all inefficiencies?

Auditing will help a business clear their thoughts regarding their competency and properly answer these questions. It will help them get certified to the highest ISO quality management standard, ISO 9001. Not just for quality assurance, internal auditing is also equally needed when you seek to get other ISO management certifications like ISO 14001, ISO 27001, ISO 20000, or ISO 13485.

What Processes Comprise in Internal Audit?

Routine internal auditing will help your business sustain ISO certification and emerge as competitive players in the industry. The auditing process follows these steps-

• Monitoring and evaluating potential risks, policies, management systems, and controls of your organization,
• Reviewing the management system of your organization for compliance with the ISO standard, federal laws, and industrial regulations,
• Providing reports and recommendations to the organization’s management team or administrative board to act on compliance issues.

Following these processes, a business can gather valuable insights into its management system and business performance. The business can eventually take action and instruct the concerned departments to work more efficiently to improve compliance. The auditing processes can be done either by in-house experts or by outsourcing a team of professional auditors.

How does the Internal Audit Happen?

The process of internal auditing involves several stages conducted by professional auditors. Relying on an external third-party agency to conduct the audit is very effective due to their superior assessment skills. They will objectively assess your management system to ensure it is compliant with the ISO standard.

The sequential stages of the audit process are:

Stage 1

The auditors will consult with the members of the organization who are in charge of operating the management system. They will gather essential information on how the organization is managing its processes within the management system.

Stage 2

They will find and measure the risks and assess the controls that the organization is implementing to manage these risks.

Stage 3

They will review the management system’s compliance with the chosen ISO standard, and review the documented management system to ensure that it is completely in line with the operating system.

Stage 4

They will verify the information gathered after the assessment and provide recommendations for improving compliance if there are any compliance gaps present in the management system.

Stage 5

The auditors will provide a report of the auditing process with critical insights and present measures to effectively materialize the recommendations.

Stage 6

The auditors will then follow up on the proper course of action by the organization. They will provide consistent support to make sure the conditions of compliance are met by the business.

Time Required for the Audit Process

This six-stage audit process takes about 1-2 weeks to complete, however, larger organizations may take longer. Audit time also depends on the complexities in processes and the departments that are being assessed by the auditors. The management team or the supervisor of the management system in your organization must cooperate with the auditors, provide insightful opinions, and give accurate information. This will help to accelerate the internal audit process.

Final Thoughts: Why You Must Perform Internal Auditing?

No matter how long or complex the internal auditing process is, compliance with the ISO standard cannot be achieved without it. Internal audits should not be considered as an intimidating phase of the certification process, where the non-compliances or inconsistencies will be identified and certification will be denied. Instead, an internal audit will become a positive experience for a business if they are guided by expert professionals that will help them improve compliance with the particular ISO certification. The scope of the audits is to help you determine the areas of improvement in the management system, help the business identify compliance risks, and evolve their management processes and controls over time.

To know more about the internal audit process or to hire auditors, you can contact Compliancehelp Consulting LLC. We are a leading quality assurance services provider, and we have a team of professional auditors who have the skills to thoroughly examine the management system and processes in a business, and then propose appropriate measures for improving ISO compliance.

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