Oak Innovation Auditing Skills Training Course


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  • 81-page facilitator manual
  • 67-page participant manual
  • 87 powerpoint slides
  • Practical exercises
  • Further reading
  • Course evaluation form
  • Action plan
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How you can continually meet the challenges faced by your audience

This auditing skills training course is designed to meet the challenges faced by line-staff and managers who strive to become better at participating in auditing initiatives. Professionals will find this program particularly beneficial if they work within regulatory environments.

The first tip that we would like to share with you is that the words “auditing skills” get thrown around quite a bit in companies. And, often most people just assume that these skills are in abundance. This is not the case.

The second tip is you must always remember when delivering this course is that your audience is always looking for practical answers.

The third tip is just like you would prepare for any presentation, ensure that you start by reviewing the content and exercises supplied.

The best practice required is to offer a focused exploration of primary auditing skills required and steps needed. Just like that, we’ve learned that the easiest way to further consolidate auditing skills is to also consider exploring benchmarking skills and quality management skills.

Let’s explore what content you will receive.

Learning objectives

If you are looking for content to present a training course on auditing skills, this is the course material for you. And, you don’t have to be an experienced business trainer to get results like a pro.

At the end of this training course your participants will be able to:

– Define types of audits

– Set up an audit schedule

– Form an audit team

– Perform a basic audit

– Manage relevant documentation

– Understand the audit process

Course outline

In an effort to provide you with as much value as possible, we’re going to show you how we would use the content provided to deliver the key sections of this training course.

Why audit – Encourage your audience to follow through the content in the order provided. Tell your audience exactly what they need to understand and explore various types of reviews. Interacting with them will help you share that for any audit effort to achieve success that all concerned must know what the focus of an audit is.

Help your audience to think of audits as an opportunity that helps their companies. Much like the delivery of a product or service, it’s something your audience can directly contribute to. Once they are engaged, it should offer them a sense of excitement. In the workplace, where these skills are so necessary, you can instruct participants on traditional views (e.g., criteria-based auditing and audit objectives). And the effort that may be required.

Audit Systems – Systems are the key to great audits. But before launching into any type of review, it’s essential to use the content to explore pre-audit activity. The ideal way to go about this is to discuss how to create an audit history. Always remember that if you include content that adds value to your audience, they will relate more to your course — engaging your audience will also help when showing them how to define the scope of an audit.

So, to bring this a step further, just put yourself in the position of your audience and discuss how to understand the benefits of having reviews. You’ll also want to discuss essential aspects like the scope of the audit and audit process flow.

Setting Up The Audit Team – Whatever individual members of your audience are working at right now, most likely, they already understand the need for team-building and teamwork skills. In this part of the course, you’ll get to highlight the critical roles within an audit team. In particular, to explore the role and responsibilities of the lead auditor. Don’t be afraid to get your audience to share their personal experiences.

Let’s face some facts; some of your audience will respond to hard detail, others to personal experiences, others to case examples. When exploring the content provided and sharing this knowledge, we suggest that you add a company or industry-specific standards. This use of personal illustrations will help to ground the learning.

In our experience, this approach of using examples works much better than just churning out bullet points. Take this insight, and use the content provided to help your audience to guide, plan, and schedule an audit. Finally, end this section by looking at audit documentation and audit checklists.

Performing The Audit – The rise in the need for audits and reviews has increased the importance of the need to equip people with skills in conducting effective meetings. Use the content to teach your audience about opening meeting attendees. Now that you’ve established some fundamental aspects, you can look at how to start a review.

For an audit to positively impact a company, all of the aspects involved need to work together. At this point, you can share the importance of managing activity and gathering evidence. We’ve learned that one of the easiest ways to make sure that you’re helping your audience is to explore questioning skills, observation, and note-taking.

And, if you think using these skills is overwhelming for your audience, just take your time to make sure they are comfortable with the knowledge provided. Then, use the content to provide insights on possible situations when there is a need to abort an audit. And end this section by discussing the critical role of audit team meetings.

Practical Auditor Attitude – If you’ve taken part in auditing activities, you’ll know it’s best to teach your participants on effective audit tactics. By exploring with your audience directly, you can be sure that they understand the auditor from hell.

Next, highlight the need to both deliver the audit and to achieve results. While this sort of results focus is essential, you should also stress the crucial elements of recording a non-compliance, scaling, non-compliance, and non-conformance reports.

And, if you’ve ever taken part in audit meetings, you’ll know the importance of closing meetings. Start this part of the content by acknowledging the critical nature of this meeting and use the content to share how to hold a closing meeting and corrective action. Conclude the course by stressing the need for follow-up.

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Frequently asked questions from auditing skills training courses

What is an audit?

Although auditing can mean many things to different people or companies, we must start with a definition of auditing. We believe that the following description isolates all of the essential aspects of a quality-driven and evidence-based audit system.

A systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled. ISO 9000:2000

Why do companies use audits?

Here are some of the main reasons why companies engage in auditing:

  • To check compliance with a standard or with regulatory guidelines
  • To provide a vigilance system
  • To emphasize and maintain compliance as an everyday work function
  • To identify opportunities for improvement

What are the main types of audits that companies use?

There are three primary types of audits within companies. These are:

First Party Audits

  • Self or internal audit
  • Scheduled
  • Process focus
  • Internal audit team appointed and trained
  • Required activity for compliance

Second Party Audits

  • Audit by a customer
  • Scheduled
  • Focused according to customer requirements
  • Undertaken by consultants retained by the customer
  • Maybe a contractual obligation

Third-Party Audits

  • Review by an independent, usually for certification purposes
  • May not be scheduled
  • Poor performance can result in loss of certification or quality standard accreditation
  • Typically, an in-depth analysis of a particular aspect of the operations. Although sometimes it may involve a comprehensive assessment of the performance of the entire operation

What are internal audits?

Internal audits represent an additional type of review within a company. The following are valuable lessons that can assist you in developing an excellent internal audit system:

  • Internal auditors are from a cross-functional pool
  • Internal auditors must have the respect of their peers
  • Internal audits must have the power to enforce corrective actions
  • Internal auditors need training
  • Internal audits form part of the overall vigilance process and as such must be documented
  • Internal reviews require a schedule

What should I record within an internal audit?

Assuming you want the collection of your information to be optimized, then you’ll also want to be sure you capture:

  • Audit number/subject – this allows traceability in the audit schedule
  • Auditor(s) involved
  • Dates (scheduled and completed)
  • Revision date/status
  • Current status of non-compliances

What are the key characteristics of external audits?

The following represent the key characteristics of external audits:

  • Independent third parties carry out external audits
  • Auditors involved in third party audits tend to be professionals trained in audit techniques
  • An imposed external audit
  • External auditors may in some cases have a high level of power to enforce compliance to standards
  • A particular ‘fear factor’ may come to bear on the external audit due to the ability of the auditor
  • External audits have defined measures to assess compliance against
  • Interaction with an external auditor tends to be limited to professional matters only to maintain independence

What is the focus of an audit?

Here’s how to focus an audit – the right way – to gain the most from your activities.

  • Product - focus on one product as it flows through the systems of an organization
  • Process - concentrate on the effectiveness of a process to identify improvements
  • Regulatory - explore compliance with a set of regulatory guidelines such as those imposed upon the Pharmaceutical industry by the FDA

What are the main objectives of an audit?

There are five potential objectives for an audit, and they may appear by themselves or as combinations. These objectives are:

  • Registration
  • Conformity
  • Regulation
  • Improvement
  • Effectiveness

What are the three main stages of a practical audit?

By understanding the main parts of an audit, you break down all practical audit approaches into three distinct stages:

  • Pre-Audit activities
  • Audit history
  • Scoping the audit

How do you scope a review?

Many new auditors approach audits with the belief that more is better – however, the scope of the audit capture:

  • System elements examined are defined
  • Locations are listed
  • Activity identified
  • The time frame is listed
  • Identify standards against conformity

The range may be limited to fall within a specified time frame, process, or product. It serves primarily to give focus to the audit and allows both the auditor and the auditee to have exact knowledge as to where the review will take them within the company.

What are the benefits of scoping an audit?

The outcomes of scoping an audit bring benefits to the auditors:

  • It provides focus
  • Activities are defined
  • Timelines and schedules are known

And, to those audited:

  • It gives some ‘pre-warning’ of focus areas
  • Timelines and plans are known
  • Surprises are limited

What are the seven stages of an audit process roadmap?

The following are the necessary steps in the flow of an effective audit.

  • Initial Preparation
  • Detailed Planning
  • Opening Meeting
  • Auditing
  • Reporting
  • Closing Meeting
  • Follow-up

Thus, the process flow involves three distinct stages:

  • Pre-audit activity: Preparation, planning and opening meeting
  • Audit activity
  • Post-audit: Report writing, closing meeting, and follow-up

This road map for an audit process makes it easy for the auditor and auditee to know where the process should be. And what activities should be associated with each of the phases.

How do you form an audit team?

The team needs:

  • Enough members to split the work equitably and process the audit within the defined schedule
  • Capability in terms of skills and experience
  • Independence
  • Understanding of the business processes

What skills should an audit team leader possess?

Before appointing a team leader for an audit, consider whether they possess the following skills:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Effective delegation style
  • High level of knowledge and intelligence
  • Power and respect

What are the primary responsibilities of a lead auditor?

The lead auditor is basically in charge of the audit from inception to close. And has:

  • The ultimate responsibility for everything that is associated with the audit
  • Definition of the scope of the audit
  • Involved with the selection of other team members
  • Preparation of the audit plan
  • Guidance of the preparation process
  • Team briefing and communication
  • Representation of the audit team with the auditee
  • Ultimate decision-making throughout the process
  • Preparation of final audit report

What are the primary responsibilities of an auditor?

The auditor has the following responsibilities:

  • Understanding the audit process
  • Being conversant with the audit plan
  • Complying with the agreed audit requirements
  • Planning and carrying out duties as detailed and assigned by the lead auditor
  • Documenting all observations clearly & accurately
  • Working within the set time frame and schedule
  • Maintaining a professional approach to the auditee
  • Accurately reporting the results of the audit activities undertaken
  • Verifying the validity of corrective actions
  • Managing all relevant documents

What types of questioning skills should an auditor possess?

The auditor needs to be able to design questions that will close all information gaps. The questions include:

  • Open questions – designed to get detailed information
  • Hypothetical questions – posing scenario-based ‘what if’ type questions
  • Probing – intended to allow the auditor to dig deeper into a topic
  • Reflective questions – enable the auditor to check their understanding
  • Closed Questions – require just yes or no answers

Questions are what the auditor uses to control the direction and flow of information during the audit process. Questions tend to be:

  • Understandable
  • Relevant
  • Logical
  • Professional
  • Focused

What type of note-taking is necessary as part of an audit?

The auditor needs to be able to capture the audit in their notes immediately. Characteristics of useful notes include:

  • Clear
  • Logical
  • Relevant
  • Complete
  • Secure
  • Referenced

What are the main things to remember during audit team meetings?

An audit team must maintain contact during the audit program - having audit team meetings can most effectively do this. The effectiveness of the meetings is dependent upon the following characteristics:

  • Plan time in schedule for meetings
  • Share information across the team
  • Use the meeting to highlight any problems
  • Change the plan if necessary
  • Begin to construct the bones of the report on the audit findings
  • Have a strict agenda and period for each meeting
  • Involve every auditor
  • Minute the meetings

The chairperson for the team sessions is usually the team leader. They must ensure that the meetings are practical tools for the audit team. The sessions are action-oriented and inclusive.

How do I record non-compliances?

Non-compliance with a standard is stated and linked directly to the particular criterion where the issue has arisen. The auditor must present the auditee with information in a report format that details the following:

  • The observation/evidence of the non-compliance
  • The criteria/standard for non-compliances
  • The location of the non-compliance
  • The person with whom the non-compliance is agreed
  • Any corrective action is approved – including timelines and responsibility for completion of the corrective action where necessary The non-compliance must be fully described. This agreement reinforces the need for full and objective evidence to be gathered by the auditor during the audit.

Can I edit these course materials?

Yes. We allow the full customization of these training materials.


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