Internal auditing is a mechanism by which an organization examines a business process to evaluate its ability to comply with internal and external requirements. It is also a very effective tool to implement a discipline of continuous improvement. Internal audits enable management to:
Attributes of a successful internal audit program
To be effective, the internal audit and the corrective and preventive action (CAPA) processes must be fully integrated in a closed-loop manner. Internal audit of a process/organization takes a snapshot of the current environment, maps it to defined requirements or specifications and then identifies nonconformities or opportunities for improvement. These nonconformities are then fed into a corrective action process, which recommends specific actions and solutions. The lead auditor should then verify that the corrective action has been implemented and the root cause of the original nonconformity has been eliminated.
An internal-audit program within an organization is less likely to be successful when it does not have the right management support and commitment. In organizations where the audit program consistently delivers good results, the closed loop audit/corrective action process is likely to be institutionalized as a result of the management support. A key attribute of such an organization is any process-owner's ability to answer the following questions very clearly:
Five key activities in an internal audit
An internal audit is almost always successful when an internal auditor is able to carry out the following five linked activities:
System Requirements for a Successful internal Audit Program
A specific audit is likely to be more successful if the detailed steps listed above are automated using software to make them repeatable. Leading industry analysts have identified the following core requirements of a software solution for a closed-loop internal audit program - an end-to-end process from audit management through corrective actions to change control.
A successful internal audit program is critical to implementing an organizational discipline of continuous improvement. By ensuring that the best practices are implemented and by using software to automate the closed-loop process, an organization will be well on its way towards realizing impressive results from its internal audit program.