Sunday, April 25, 2010

What makes a good auditor?

What makes a good auditor?

I got into this business after dealing with a pretty bad auditor. It's funny that was my inspiration. I dove into this field, without any of the research that you are supposed to do.

Back to the subject: What makes a good auditor? Here is one of my client testimonials on the subject:

This is our third year of working together and we happy to have you as part of our internal auditing team. You made our internal auditing program very easy and efficient by being always truthful, fair and open-minded. You have also helped to make our internal audits more effective. People started to look at the audits with more positive attitude because of your ability to communicate effectively with others. Your great experience has made our internal audit program transparent and very convenient for our business."

Everything said above refers to the outcomes of a great auditor. A auditor needs to make people feel at ease, I view audits as opportunities to get to know the people and the processes. An auditor needs to know the standard that they are auditing agaiinst. They also need to pick their battles, and write up non-conformances that are important, systemic issues.

Another characteristic that an auditor needs is inquisitiveness, ask why why why why, and then show me.

Johnson George added to this linked in blog by writing: Make the auditee team comfortable
- Explain your purpose of audit, make them feel it is the system you are auditng and not the person
- While you write notes, let them see what you are writing (or else they are going to be scared - are you upto giving an NC?)
- Summarise and agree on all the NC's
- Do write a clear report so that they can respond to your NC with effective Correction, Root Cause and Corrective Action
- Offer to help find root cause (this works)

Edward Doss added: As per ISO 19011:2002 (E), 7.2 Personal attributes

Auditors should possess personal attributes to enable them to act in accordance with the principles of auditing described in clause 4.

An auditor should be:
a) ethical, i.e. fair, truthful, sincere, honest and discreet;
b) open-minded, i.e. willing to consider alternative ideas or points of view;
c) diplomatic, i.e. tactful in dealing with people;
d) observant, i.e. actively aware of physical surroundings and activities;
e) perceptive, i.e. instinctively aware of and able to understand situations;
f) versatile, i.e. adjusts readily to different situations;
g) tenacious, i.e. persistent, focused on achieving objectives;
h) decisive, i.e. reaches timely conclusions based on logical reasoning and analysis; and
i) self-reliant, i.e. acts and functions independently while interacting effectively with others.

and finally any auditing mechanism is not an fault finding activitiy rather its an fact finding methodology..

So what did we miss? What makes a good auditor?

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