We hear a lot about internal auditing these days, particularly with the increasing adoption of ISO management systems throughout the world. And we understand that this type of audit is not restricted to the accounts.
In short, an internal audit is an independent and objective scrutiny of certain systems and procedures, to improve and add value to an organisation’s operations. It’s quite logical, really. Every organisation has some sort of business plan in place and, unless you perform internal audits, you won’t know if that plan is working.
Internal auditing really started after World War II, and has continued to evolve since. It is a specialist field but, giving its growing importance, and popularity as a career choice, there are an increasing number of training courses available.
Internal auditing differs from Lead Auditor or third party auditing, the latter reporting to an external body – for example, an ISO certification body.
But while internal auditors are not independent of the organisations that employ them, they must still strive for independence and objectivity in their reporting.
The objectives of internal auditing training are diverse and detailed, and are generally covered over two days. The main objective, of course, is to prepare the trainee to become a competent internal auditor. It varies according to the area in which the trainee wishes to specialise.
For example, the main areas covered by internal auditing and lead auditor training in Brisbane are ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management, OHSAS 18001 Safety Management, AS/NZS 4801 Safety Management, and Integrated Management.
Training starts with an overview of both the theory of auditing, and the specialist area, taking into account documentation, mandatory requirements, exclusions and policies. Continual improvement, non-conformance reporting, corrective and preventative action is also discussed in depth.
Skills and Techniques
Following on from that, internal auditing training covers responsibilities, communication techniques, audit planning, Entry and Exit Meetings, and reporting.
There are very strict rules about auditing that must be adhered to, and correct training of personnel is one of them. It is advisable to choose internal auditing training that is Exemplar Global-certified, and delivered by qualified, experienced auditors.
Internal auditing is a great choice for those who love variety in their work, responsibility, research and analysis, and who like to make a real difference. In some cases, this could be a crucial difference. For example, in auditing an organisation’s workplace safety system, the internal auditor might uncover problems that could put lives at risk.
Choose ISO Trainers
Internal auditing has changed over the past few years, so it’s important to choose a trainer that is across all the ISO updates. In Brisbane, that would be SC Training Centre.
Surveys have shown that whilst traditional accounting skills were one of the most important skills required in selecting internal auditors, businesses now seek business acumen and industry-specific knowledge. From the up and coming internal auditor’s point of view, that’s great.
That means that existing staff within an organisation, staff with an excellent understanding of how the business and the industry works, are now prime candidates for internal auditing training.
It is no longer simply a case of investigating and reporting, it’s about coming up with solutions, which is why analytical/critical thinking is so important. Communication skills are right up there, too, as internal auditors must be able to discuss procedures and findings with all levels.
Australian organisations have a lot to gain from either employing qualified internal auditors, or putting existing staff through internal auditing training. By regularly running internal audits, an organisation will save money, reduce wasted time and energy, reduce documentation, improve systems, boost productivity and improve quality.
Internal audits should not be seen as a chore, rather a chance to improve. If this is part of an ISO management system, and you wish to achieve and maintain certification, then you will have to show improvement.
Remember, senior management benefits from the results of an internal audit and should therefore be a part of the process. Indeed, the latest ISO updates insist that management play a key role in all parts of the business.
The scope of internal auditing training is quite broad; by its very nature it also makes those employees excellent mentors and trainers themselves, something a smart employer would see as a major benefit.
The internal audit experience is a learning curve for everyone. For the internal auditor, it’s a chance to use and hone their new skills; for management, it’s a chance to find out what’s really happening within the organisation. And for the business owner, it’s a chance to see where the organisation is going, what the priorities should be, and where the money should be invested.
Moving towards ISO management systems and certification is a smart more for any business in this competitive marketplace. It will certainly give you the edge, as well as ensuring you are meeting all your legal requirements and responsibilities.