Some Rules For Auditors

Some Rules For Auditors

  • Create the right atmosphere for the audit- this can be achieved by an introduction and re-affirming the purpose of the audit i.e. continuous improvement of the auditee’s system. Assuring that the results will not be punitive. 
  • Keep calm and relaxed during the entire audit process. Be assertive without engaging in any arguments with the auditee. 
  • Establish eye contact without staring. This helps in the display of confidence and interest.  
  • Factual discussions. Keep personal opinions to yourself. If the auditee deviates from the topic of discussion, politely bring them back.
  • Do not interrupt the auditee while talking. Let the other them finish talking before you ask the next question.  Ask one question at a time. 
  • Keep the right distance – about 1.5 meters. Being too close can cause some level of discomfort to the auditee while being too far may cause some hindrance in hearing of the audit question. 
  • Formulate your question differently, if it causes uncertainty or even uneasiness. 
  • Ensure you involve all participants. Don’t direct all your questions to the senior people in the audit group. 
  • Avoid techno-babble- Don’t use jargons during your audit session a this will only serve to intimidate your auditee
  • Stick to the scope- during an audit, it is very easy for the auditor to deviate from the topic if a check-list is not being adhered to
  • Keep time. Start and finish times are very important to an audit. Remember; do not schedule too much time to audit one process.
  • Listening and not ignoring auditee when they give you a response. Do not be too engrossed in typing or looking for your next question.
  • Be independent- Avoid taking sides
  • Uphold the code of ethics
  • Use the right gestures/expressions
  • Be friendly but not too familiar.
  • Remember to be keen on the following.
  • The tone of voice –  avoid scathing or accusatory tone. 
  • Facial expressions
  • Body language, gestures, and posture 

An auditor should never

  • Compare the auditee with others. You are, however, allowed to give recommendations in your report. 
  • Swear. This is completely unnecessary. Just affirm your point without any swearing or profanity. 
  • Argue – If you find the audit turning into an argument, slowly but surely make your conclusion mostly through observation and noting down the gaps in your report. Being confrontational does not help at all.
  • Criticize. Even if you have seen other organizations implement a more effective system compared to the client you are auditing, avoid criticism. 
  • Discuss religion, politics, and sexuality. These three topics are very sensitive and very diverse. Auditees may feel judged based on these topics and it may hinder the objectivity of the audit. 
  • Discuss company policy. These are private and confidential and should only be dealt with at the top management level if necessary.
  • Drink beer before an interview. Apart from being unprofessional, it will impair your judgment. 
  • Discuss personalities- an auditor should avoid this topic as people being audited will feel intimidated. 
  • Be sidetracked by the auditee or the audit findings they collect during an audit.
  • Be late for an audit. Stick to the audit plan at all costs. 
  • Be sarcastic

Handling difficult situations

The nervous, anxious auditee 

  • Have a light conversation on a topic of interest before the interview
  • Clarify the purpose and the benefits of the audit

Angry resentful auditee 

  • Treat with respect and find out the cause
  • Do not let this affect the audit

Excessively proud auditee 

  • Admire work, then move quickly to the business at hand 
  • Do not give too much to one question as it gives room for deviation 

The easily distracted auditee 

  • Get the auditee away from the source of distraction
  •  It could be their phone, music playing in the background, etc

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