An audit is simply another form of inspection and testing – except that in this case the product being inspected is the management system itself.
Like a product inspection, an audit simply compares how things actually are, to how we think they are and how they ought to be.
Audits help uncover areas that are in need of attention and they can be an opportunity to draw back from the day-to-day details and to take look at the whole process with fresh eyes. Despite being such a (potentially) positive tool in the management system toolkit, audits often induce the same kind of stress as end of year exams!
Obviously a great deal rides on a successful external audit so some anxiety is expected. However, a good Internal Audit process can reduce the stress, since you can uncover the problems yourself and resolve them before the external auditor begins.
We suggest you enrol in a professional development course before jumping into the role of Auditor. An alternative is to use an external consultant to perform your internal audits for you.
Quality, safety and environmental management standards all require audits to monitor and report on the effectiveness of the management system.