There are many reasons why an auditor might visit your business premises. For instance, you might be trying to gain ISO 9001 certification for your quality management system. You may need FSC Chain of Custody accreditation to demonstrate your use of responsibly-managed timber. Or you could be having your Work Health Safety management system assessed.
Many regulators can decide to visit your premises such as councils, Fair Work, ATO, Office of Fair Trading. While they may be unwelcome, they cannot be refused.
Regardless of why you’re getting a visit from an auditor, here are some tips for making the process run smoothly.
- Be prepared
Most importantly, be prepared. Preferably do an internal audit to identify and address any issues before the real thing.
- Organise your documentation
Have all your documents ready for the auditor, even if you don’t think they are relevant.
- Be courteous
No matter how difficult the auditor, always be courteous and considerate, never rude or confrontational. Remember, auditors are people with their own experiences, prejudices, likes and dislikes.
- Brief your staff
Notify your team of the auditor’s visit. Brief them on the purpose of the audit, and on what is expected of them during the visit.
- Remember less is more
Respond to the auditor’s questions with short, concise answers. Don’t ramble.
- Consider your responses
Don’t feel like you need to answer immediately. Take a few seconds to formulate a considered answer.
- If you don’t know, say so
If you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, just say so. After the audit, you should be given the opportunity to address any gaps.
- Set the auditor up in a room
Set up a quiet space for the auditor and bring staff and documentation to them. Make them comfortable and provide tea, coffee, water and lunch.
- Escort at all times
If the auditor needs to examine physical aspects of your business, escort them at all times.
- Ask for feedback
At the conclusion of the visit, ask the auditor for a summary so you can understand what they want, if anything.
Whether you are being audited as a legal requirement or you are voluntarily seeking an accreditation, passing an audit will benefit your business. So be prepared and follow these tips.
Carix has supported numerous businesses in preparing for and undergoing audits. We can assist in organising and preparing documentation, and we can be present at the audit as an advocate. Call us on (02) 9029 7953, to discuss how we can assist.