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I invite colleagues - auditors or compliance people from another side to add extra points from their experience.

As an ISO auditor with a very intense remote audit schedule, as a compliance manager and an implementation consultant who is facilitating audits from a company side;

I have a lot of experience and a clear understanding of why audits can sometimes be a horrible experience for the auditor and the company with high tension and many findings.  Often it’s not coming from the management system's compliance or level of maturity.

Okay… How is that? What is more important than compliance?

These bullet points are way more important.

They are listed in order of importance.

  1. Camera on!

There is a very unpleasant experience if you have to deliver a two-hour speech to a black screen, not sure how many people are on the other side and what they are doing. 10 people? 20? Are they listening, or are you just talking to yourself?

The most important rule for any online meeting.

2. Interview with visual materials on screen:

Don’t explain processes, show them. Any visual will do: charts, photos, videos, and process flows. Google Earth. Presentation. Anything.

3. Explain abbreviations.

Each country, each industry, and each company has its own language and its own abbreviation. If you show the document, it would be great to explain its meaning. If you send documents, it would be great to attach an explanation.

4. Write names: people, products, software, vendors, etc.

There is not enough to say your name aloud. Just imagine that an auditor meets around 20-25 new people every 3 days. Add here about 30 names of software, vendors, products, and suppliers. Try calculating the time needed for spelling and editing typos in the audit report. Now you understand me.

5. Avoid lack of commitment:

If, by the audit plan, the auditor needs to cover supply chain management, there is no point to try to cover this topic with the quality person saying that “the supply chain specialist is busy right now, but the quality assurance manager knows ISO.” The important message for the company’s top management: don’t throw your quality or safety manager under the bus. One person cannot be interviewed and cover ALL areas of ISO compliance. This is exactly what falls under the “lack of commitment from the leadership.”

6. Audit plan:

no one knows your company better than you. You working there, you know that software engineers usually have a project team meeting every Tuesday morning. You can suggest the most convenient schedule changes, just by sending an email: “let’s move the interview with the soft dev team to Wednesday.’ The thoughtful and detailed audit plan with names and time - 50% of the audit success.

7. Breaks and time for writing audit reports:

For more than half of the time of the audit itself, the auditor needs time for structuring, analyzing notes, and writing the audit report, conclusion, and findings. It’s easy if you have only one audit in a month. If you have one audit after another and the weekend you are traveling to the next onsite audit, you need to keep up with writing audit reports in time. Write it without needing to be changed or edited the first time - saving a lot of time and energy.

I’m being very lucky so far, as I’m auditing well-prepared and very understanding companies and teams who have auditing experience. I am really happy to hear after each audit that my audit brings value to the company management system. I hope this information will help you to successfully pass any audit or inspection with no complications or findings.