Improving the management system is one of the primary concerns and the purpose of internal auditing. When we refer to the management system, we do not mean individuals within the management but the quality, safety and environmental processes of the management system within the business. Overall, the internal audit must be an intricate part of the management system being utilized. It has often been observed that the process of the internal audit or the function is not utilized effectively but viewed as an unwanted evil in order to meet the requirement of standard such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 or ISO 27001.
There are a number of factors why organizations behave in this manner. It becomes difficult for them to allocate individuals to plan, document and execute and follow up on an internal audit. It does not become any easier when the internal audits are needed to be based on improvement. Before conducting a meaningful and an effective audit that can promote and facilitate continuous improvement the auditor will be required to allocate the time necessary for the preparation. It is essential for the auditor to understand that the results he or she can deliver will depend upon the preparation they have done for the same.
Perhaps one of the first questions in the minds of the auditors will be about the steps needed to be taken if a process has to be improved. Generally, it is believed that measuring the improvement is the best way to go about this task. There is a strong belief that things cannot be improved unless they can be measured. However, the question about how the measurement will take place still remains and therefore, the auditor will have to understand that they will be required to look into the effectiveness, compliance and the improvement at the same time.
Experts in the industry of internal auditing have developed a formula for the understanding, which has a resemblance for something close to physics or psychology. It is somewhat likely that they may have found the formula effective as a measurement tool. However, it is quite possible that newcomers to the industry may have a different view of such matters.
Auditors are generally concentrating on the compliance part of the process when it is better for them to focus on improvement, effectiveness and compliance together. Depending solely on compliance can lead to errors in the audit because a single instance of a mistake by an employee does not indicate that the entire system is noncompliant. It is also not a valid tool to improve the management system. Auditors will be required to approach the task with an open mind and consider all factors rather than just one and hence it is worthwhile for organisations to engage experience auditors that can add value to the management system and the organisation.
The auditor is required to use the indicators he or she has developed to monitor the health and the direction of the auditing. Just concentrating on a single value is likely to lead them in the wrong direction and makes them neglect issues that may be holding importance. They must make an effort to improve themselves and to concentrate on all matters and deliver a report that will be effective. They cannot be holding the view that every organization will have a system that is totally compliant as specified and therefore, will have to be prepared to meet the challenges head-on. It will not be difficult for auditors to find human errors if they are willing to work hard rather than concentrate on a single factor which they were perhaps trained for.