It’s important to audit your auditor

It’s important to audit your auditor

Advantage ACT MD, Christel Fouché, shares some important tips to ensure your auditors don’t let you down.

Many auditors and lead auditors in South Africa operate as though they are registered, but in fact you may find that they are not. You normally find this out when it is too late and you have already experienced poor service delivery. There is then nowhere to complain and demand that the services be re-supplied …

Please note that this statement does not imply that all non-registered auditors/lead auditors are substandard in their field of expertise.

Why do we suggest you use a registered auditor/lead auditor? These auditors have been verified and validated as having a certain level of knowledge, skill and experience. They are checked annually to ensure they maintain (and continually improve on) their current competency. Registered providers are independently checked to ensure a certain standard of auditing is maintained.

The added benefit, to you as the client, is that you can lodge an appeal to an independent body should the method of auditing, or the conduct of the auditor/lead auditor, be in jeopardy.

There are two types of registered auditors/lead auditors you can employ: local (registered in South African only) and international (globally accepted).

Advantage ACT conducts courses for auditors and lead auditors that are registered by the International Register for Certified Auditors (IRCA) and the South African Auditor and Training Authority (SAATCA). It offers one course with dual certificates.

Most of our successful delegates move on to do the audit sessions and then register internationally as a lead auditor in their choice of discipline.

The two largest personnel certification bodies in the world, IRCA (European aligned) and RABQSA – now known as Exemplar Global (American and Australian aligned), each have easy-to-navigate auditor confirmation capabilities on their websites.

If the name you’re looking for does not show on IRCA, try Exemplar Global. If it doesn’t show there, you need to ask your auditor/lead auditor for proof of where they are registered and check whether it is still valid – and for the correct discipline.

Common problems

• Auditors/lead auditors registered in, for example, 9001 audits in other disciplines, but they are not registered under the client’s particular disciplines;

• Cards or registration status have expired;

• They bring their own management system ideas in and audit against those, instead of auditing the clients’ management system;

• They generate subjective non-conformances;

• They have limited or no knowledge to audit the “legal” section;

• Undertake a limited or no audit of the “other” section.

Tips to benefit from your auditing process and auditor/lead auditor

• Get the strictest auditor/lead auditor to do your audits – the higher the standard of your auditor, the higher the standard of your management system.

• Ensure the credentials of the auditor/lead auditor are valid and in line with your operation and the audit objective.

• Make sure you get (and welcome) non-conformances – the more non-conformances you have to rectify, the less you will have in the future.

• Have an internal auditor-in-training sit in during the audit – empower your employees with the external expertise and raise the internal bar.

• Auditors and lead auditors are the eyes and ears of the management system. Empowering them towards first-world standards can only benefit the organisation. Ensuring they have the correct credentials is critical towards overall effectiveness and success.

Advantage ACT is passionate about helping companies achieve these goals through its IRCA/SAATCA-registered courses for lead auditors and its audit sessions process.

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