Auditing Skills

Oak Innovation


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How to get auditing skills training materials that will save you time and effort

Creating an auditing skills training course takes time – and often lots of money.

Plus, we’re operating in increasingly busy workplaces. So, finding the time to create practical training course materials can be challenging. At Oak Innovation we know that not everyone has the time or resources to create this content from scratch.

So if you’ve decided that you want to deliver courses on auditing, you can will instantly get pre-written and customizable training materials (e.g., facilitator and participant manuals, slides, practical exercises and training guides) that you can use to teach your own training courses.

Planning your course delivery ahead of time

Now you can use these course materials to help your participants gain a solid grasp of basic auditing principles. And, you can offer a clear exploration on the main skills and steps required.

Course overview

The following topics are covered within the slides, manuals and support materials provided.

Why Audit – Use the content to teach your participants on what is auditing. And, also what exactly are audits. Then, explore various types of audits. Plus, what should be the focus an audit. Use the materials provided to instruct participants on traditional views of audits (e.g., criteria-based auditing and audit objectives).

Audit Systems – Begin by exploring pre-audit activity. Next, discuss how to create an audit history. Then, instruct participants on how to define the scope of an audit. And, how to understand the benefits of having an audit. Conclude this section by outlining important aspects like the scope of the audit and audit process flow.

Setting Up The Audit Team – In this part of the course, you’ll can highlight the key roles within an audit team. In particular, to explore the role and responsibilities of the lead auditor. Next, examine how to guide, plan, and schedule an audit. And, instruct participants on audit documentation and audit checklists.

Performing The Audit – In this section of the content, it’s best to outline the components of performing an audit from opening the audit meeting. Use the content to teach your audience about opening meeting attendees. And, how to start an audit. Next, share the importance of managing activity and gathering evidence. And, instruct participants about questioning skills, observation, and note taking. Then, use the content to provide insights on the need to sometimes abort an audit. And, end this section by discussing the critical role of audit team meetings.

Effective Auditor Attitude – In this final section, teach your participants on effective audit tactics. By ecploring 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. Then, explore the important elements of recording a non-compliance, scaling, non-compliance and non-conformance reports. 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.

Course objectives

Use this content to deliver your own course on auditing skills. And, on completion of this course your target audience 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

What you get

You will instantly get the following training course materials:

  • 81 page facilitator manual
  • 67 page participant manual
  • 87 powerpoint slides
  • Practical exercises
  • Further reading
  • Course evaluation form
  • Action plan

Bonus free training materials available

You will also receive the following free training guides:

  • Training icebreakers
  • How to select training materials
  • Training games
  • How to increase participation
  • Learn to improve your questioning skills
  • How to improve your listening skills
  • Learn how to deal with difficult people
  • How to evaluate training courses

Frequently asked questions from auditing skills training courses

What is an audit?

Although auditing can mean many things to different people or companies, it is essential that we start with a definition of auditing. We believe that the following definition isolates all of the important 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 emphasise 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
  • May be undertaken by consultants retained by the customer
  • May be a contractual obligation

Third Party Audits

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

What are internal audits?

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

  • Internal auditors must be drawn from a cross-functional pool
  • Internal auditors must have the respect of their peers
  • Internal audits must be seen to have the power to enforce corrective actions and be properly resourced
  • Internal auditors must be trained in audit techniques
  • Internal audits form part of the overall vigilance process and as such must be documented
  • Internal audits must be scheduled

What information is recorded within internal audits?

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
  • External audits are imposed on the organization
  • External auditors may in some cases have a high level of power that can be used to enforce compliance to standards
  • A certain ‘fear factor’ may come to bear on the external audit due to the power of the auditor
  • External audits have defined standards 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 – in order to gain the most from your activities.

  • Product audit - focus at one product as it flows through the systems of an organization
  • Process audit - concentrate at the effectiveness of a process to identify where improvements can be made
  • Regulatory audit - 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 when an audit is being planned. These objectives are:

  • Registration
  • Conformity
  • Regulation
  • Improvement
  • Effectiveness

What are the three main stages of an effective audit?

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

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

How do you scope an audit?

Many new auditors approach audits with the belief that more is better – however the scope of the audit should ensure that the following is captured:

  • System elements to be examined are defined
  • Locations to be investigated are listed
  • Activities covered by the audit are identified
  • Time frame over which the audit will be carried out
  • Standards against which conformity will be gauged will be clearly identified

The scope 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 audit 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 being audited as:

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

What are the 7 stages of an audit process roadmap?

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

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

Thus, the process flow of an audit can be broken down into three distinct stages:

  • Pre-audit activity: Preparation, planning and opening meeting
  • Audit activity
  • Post-audit activity: 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 to be formed so as to have:

  • 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 main responsibilities of a lead auditor?

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

  • 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 main 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 responsibilities 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?

To obtain evidence or basic information, an auditor needs to be able to design questions that will close all information gaps. The questions should be categorised as:

  • Open questions – designed to get detailed information
  • Hypothetical questions – posing scenario based ‘what if’ type questions
  • Probing – designed to allow the auditor to dig deeper into a topic
  • Reflective questions – allows 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 that are effective tend to be:

  • Understandable
  • Relevant
  • Logical
  • Professional
  • Focused

What type of note taking should be completed as part of an audit?

When an observation is made or objective evidence is found the auditor needs to be able to capture it 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?

It is crucial for an audit team to maintain contact during the audit programme - having audit team meetings can most effectively do this. The effectiveness of the meetings are dependent upon the following characteristics:

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

The chairperson for the team meetings is usually the team leader. They must ensure that the meetings are effective tools for the audit team. This means that the meetings must be conducted in a way that is action oriented and inclusive.

How should you record non-compliances?

Non-compliance with a standard must be explicitly 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 against which the non-compliance has been raised
  • The location of the non-compliance
  • The person with whom the non-compliance has been agreed
  • Any corrective action that has been agreed – including timelines and responsibility for completion of the corrective action where necessary The non-compliance must be fully described and be without any doubt before it is presented. This reinforces the need for full and objective evidence to be gathered by the auditor during the course of the audit.

Can I edit these course materials?

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


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