Internal audits are an essential piece of ensuring that a quality management system operates effectively and successfully. Having an internal audit checklist is the best way to check that every part of your business is meeting the necessary requirements.
How can an internal audit checklist template help me? A good quality audit template will take the guesswork out of drafting an internal audit checklist from scratch. Customizable templates come already stocked with all of the requirements your system needs to meet and are easy to change to suit your business.
Using a template when putting together your internal audit checklist has a number of benefits. Read below to find out more about how an internal audit checklist template can make the process of creating your checklist easier.
Once you have your internal audit checklist ready to go, you can put it to use in checking up on your quality management system. This is an extremely useful tool to have on hand for a couple of reasons.
Requirements - First and foremost, a good checklist will ensure that your quality management system meets all of the requirements it needs to meet. Nothing is left out so you don't have to worry about missing anything in the audit process.
Consistency - Having a well-made checklist means that all of your internal audits will be performed in a consistent manner. You don't have to worry about the approach to an audit changing because of different auditors.
Evidence - An internal audit checklist provides clear evidence that the audit was performed. It will also provide objective evidence for the successful performance of your quality management system. All of this can be used in the review process.
An internal audit checklist template is a good tool to consider when everything is being done in-house and without the help of a professional consultant. Using a template presents some attractive benefits to anyone who has a lot on their plate already.
Getting all of the documentation ready for a quality management system can take a lot of time. Even something like a checklist can take a good chunk of your time and energy. You have to research all of the requirements your company has to meet in order to form a complete checklist. A template already has all of those requirements included, saving you time and money.
When you have a template ready to go, you will have a jump on the entire process of an internal audit. You won't have to wonder how to get started because it will be started for you. All you have to do is customize it to suit your needs.
When you are creating a checklist, you want to make sure that everything you need to look into is included. A well-made template will already have all of the requirements written into it, taking the guesswork out of whether or not you missed anything.
Quality Management Systems can be intimidating to implement and keep up with, especially when it comes to documentation. When it comes to having a checklist for your internal audits, templates will ensure that the audit system from start to finish is incredibly user-friendly. Anyone that may need access to such a checklist will have everything they need at hand.
Any well-made template will have clear and easy to follow guidance on how to use the template to collect data included with it. These instructions will make sure that your internal audits run smoothly and that anyone trained to perform an internal audit will be able to use the checklist without issue.
Chances are the template you end up using is made with care and has evolved from previous incarnations. Mistakes that were made in the past help template creators to make their template even better and more valuable to you as a business.
If you already have an internal audit checklist that you aren't entirely happy with, using a template is a good way to restructure it. Even just using the template to compare to your own checklist may help you pick out needed changes to make your checklist even better.
Given the overwhelming amount of templates available, it might be difficult for you to choose which template you should choose for your internal audit checklist. Checking that the template meets a few simple requirements can aid in narrowing down your search so that you can find the perfect template for your needs.
Customizing a template to suit your business may take some time, but the right template will make the task that much easier. Whichever template you choose should include instructions on how to customize it and where exactly to make those changes.
Any quality template will be designed with the user in mind. The customization process to fit the template to your business should be made simple. It should be a huge difference to simply looking at checklist samples.
The template you choose should be designed to be extremely business-friendly. There should be no extra fluff involved. A good template will make the process of internal auditing efficient for anyone using it.
Whenever you pick a template you should check to make sure there is some way to contact the creator or someone involved in the creation. That way if you get hung up with customizing it you can get advice that is exactly what you need to get going again.
Outside of your checklist, there are some other things you should be mindful of while performing an internal audit to get the most out of it.
Never Stop Planning - You should use the results of previous audits to improve upon your checklist as well as decide how things need to be reworked. Changes in your quality management system may bring about new risks you need to check for. Reviews and planning keep you on top of everything that should go into your internal audits.
Communicate Expectations - It's important that everyone involved in an internal audit knows what to expect before doing into it. Let your team in on what will happen and why you are doing what you are doing. This will help align everyone's expectations.
Ensure Mutual Understanding - While performing an internal audit an auditor should make sure that their understanding of their data input matches that of whoever is being audited in real time. This kind of transparency prevents gaps in communication and misunderstandings.
Implement Visuals in Reviews - It's good to have side-by-side comparisons when presenting the findings of an internal audit. This sort of visual representation ensures everyone can easily see the progress being made, and where improvements are needed.
Whether you are starting from scratch in creating your checklist or looking for ways to improve the one you already have, a template is an amazing tool to utilize. A template can propel you to a successful internal audit much faster than doing the job all by yourself.
Using a template, you can…
These advantages make it easy to see why people are choosing to use pre-made templates to prepare their checklists. With so many templates available, you should have no problem finding the right one for you and your business.
Written: 11th August 2019
Author: Richard Keen
Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
But most importantly he is ISO's biggest fanboy and a true evangelist of the standards.
Learn more about Richard