There are various tactics that auditees can use to slow down or stop the audit process. For you, the auditor, this can be extremely frustrating. The key is to be one step ahead by either implementing your own tactics to avoid the delays in the first place, or knowing how to handle them.
The purpose of this article is to educate auditors on how to successfully navigate obstacles and roadblocks, that can cause delays to the audit process.
Be aware of these games people play to avoid or delay the audit
Here’s a brief list of tactics, or games, we’ve come across as auditors ourselves. Be aware of these tactics as deliberate roadblocks by the client to cause you delay or affect your ability to complete the audit.
- Lengthy inductions required before you start.
- Key management not arriving on time or available when you need them.
- Taking you on a slow and detailed guided tour.
- Offers to take you off site for your lunch break.
- Senior management not available for closeout meeting.
- Discussing matters, well outside the agreed scope of work, e.g. HR Industrial Matters
- Booking in the audit during slow times, when lines aren’t operating.
- Putting you into a dedicated room so they can control what and to whom you have access.
- Not being able to give you access to key records because; they are off site, or you don’t have security clearance to view them
- Not clearly briefing the individual sites about the scope of work.
Over the years we’ve developed some proven tactics to avoid, or handle, many of these potential roadblocks to the audit process.
Implement these steps to avoid delays or challenges to the audit
1. Prior to the audit, provide a detailed audit plan including:
- The commencement time of the audit.
- Duration of the audit.
- Scope of work to be performed.
- The specific processes to be audited.
- Details of management and staff who will be required to participate.
- Obtain confirmation from the client that they understand and accept the scope of work you will be undertaking.
2. On the day of the audit be assertive and focused
During the opening meeting, quickly establish the grounds or rules of engagement.
- Make it clear that you will be working throughout the site and that you will be seeking objective evidence from a range of sources determined by you, not them, the Auditee.
- State that if the objective evidence (verbal, illustrated or documented, etc), cannot be provided at the time of the audit to demonstrate compliance, it will be deemed to be Non-Conforming.
- Be clear and upfront about what records you will need to study and who you expect to participate.
During the audit process
- If you feel you are being led off track, steer the audit back to relevant matters by reminding clients about the scope of work you agreed to prior to arrival.
- Don’t let them negotiate the re-qualification of an audit Non Conformance from Major to Minor after the report has been issued, by offering to surrender information which they deliberately kept from you during the audit.
If you need an effective tool to manage your audits we offer an integrated tablet app and cloud based software. Get started by downloading the free app here. If you prefer to speak to a specialist about your auditing needs we’d be happy to discuss the best solution for you. Contact us here.