Information sources during an audit

Information sources during an audit

As an auditor, where are you supposed to get objective evidence when auditing? The source of information that will be selected will vary according to the complexity and the scope of the audit. The type of audit will also play a big role in the selection of the information selection as being physically on-site will give you a different selection than an auditor who is doing a remote audit or even a hybrid kind of audit. 

Sources of information can include:

  1. One on one interviews with the employees of the client organization
  2. Observation of the work environment as the process being audited is happening. Check to see if what is being done on-site is the same as what is documented. 
  3. Data analysis that has been done can give you clear performance indicators. 
  4. Dig into the records that have been generated and documented. These include; minutes of meetings, audit reports, delivery notes, requisition orders, local purchase orders, invoices, inspection records, toolbox agendas, etc.
  5. External reports- i.e. customer feedback, external auditors reports, supplier ratings, external surveys and ratings, calibration certificates dates, etc
  6. Documents such as policies, objectives, standard operating procedures, manuals, work instructions, drawings, signed contracts, orders, etc
  7. Organization’s website and any form of database that has been established.
  8. Simulations and modeling
  9. Procedures for control of sampling and measurement process

Conducting interviews

This is the most common and important way of obtaining audit evidence. When conducting audits, auditors should be keen to get information that is being relayed by the use of body language. It is very easy to know when someone is giving false information when establishing eye contact during face to face interviews or through the screen during remote audits. 

Important to note during interviews;

  1. It is important to put the auditee at ease during the interview. A relaxed interviewee is more likely to give you more information.
  2. Explain to the interviewee the reason for the audit and tell them that you will record notes during the interview. 
  3. They should be conducted with persons from the appropriate level in the process. Interviewing persons too low in the hierarchy might hinder the auditor from getting precise information. 
  4. Observe the normal working hours during audits and at the auditees workplace. Avoid auditing someone during their lunch hour or past working hours.
  5. One of the ways of initiating an interview during an audit is to ask the interviewee to tell you what they do. If you are well prepared, then you can pick the loopholes and maybe do further follow-up questions. 
  6. Ask one question at a time and give time for the interviewee to answer.
  7. In case you ask for a sample, allow sufficient time for the interviewee to retrieve it. 
  8. The questions asked should be carefully selected. Open-ended questions as opposed to closed-ended. Leading questions should be avoided.
  9. It is very important to summarize and review your findings with the auditee and allow room for questions if any.
  10. The interviewed person should be thanked for their participation and cooperation during the audit process

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