How to make your Audit Report a good read

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Internal Auditing, ISO 9001, Quality Management
Tags: , , ,

Travelling round a variety of businesses as I do I come across a wide range of, how should I put this, well styles of audits reports I guess.  However, there is still a tendancy for an audit report to be written like a story.  You know paragraph after paragraph with no obvious breaks or sections.  Important comments lost in the text instead of being brought out for the attention of the reader.  A reliance still on the general statement “orders were checked and found to comply” and then CARs, if raised, lost in the body of the report without even a summary somewhere to indicate the number raised.

Now even the above falls into that trap so here it is simply formatted to enable easier assimilation:

  • paragraph after paragraph with no obvious break or sections
  • important comments lost in the text instead of being brought out for the attention of the reader
  • A reliance still on the general statement “orders were checked and found to comply”
  • CARs, if raised, lost in the body of the report without even a summary somewhere to indicate the number raised

You get the idea I’m sure.  Now in my experience it is far better to use a tabular approach like below which has headings such as:

9001 para ref – Requirement – Findings (with Objective evidence) – Result – CAR No – Summary

Audit Report

Use your imagination and create a form that will double both as a checklist and the final report when typed up and will want to be read because the information is neatly laid out.

It goes without saying that you need (no, must) include the document references you checked on the audit so that if anyone else has to check through the report then they can go see what you saw on the day.  The number of times this is not included still surprises me.

Add a separate column to clearly show the number of the CAR and whether it is a major or a minor.  Major is a total failure of the system whilst minor is simply a glitch.  Also use it for Observations if you want.  At the end of the report put a summary of the general state of the system plus a review of the number of major and minor CARs and observations.

Go to it.  Lack of objective evidence is one of the 5 most common mistakes when doing internal audits.  Check them all out here and visit the web site for more resources to help the Quality Professional.

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