In the ISO world, All ISO management system standards require the business to have an internal audit process and system to regular internal audits. Many small and medium business owners think that internal audits are usually only needed for larger firms and mostly financial auditing.
The primary objective of internal auditing against the ISO standard is to regularly review critical business processes to ensure that the system conforms to the planned arrangement and organisational requirement and that the system is effectively implemented and maintained.
What is an internal audit?
Internal audit, a type of audit, is a systematic, independent & documented process to obtain & objectively evaluate evidence of compliance with the policies, procedures & requirement of the management system.
Internal audit helps the management to evaluate if the internal control within the business is maintained and effective. Internal controls can be either process controls or system controls that are implemented as risk mitigation actions to address the risks identified within that process and system. By maintaining and improving the effectiveness of internal controls, business will be able to significantly improve process efficiency, meet regulatory requirement, monitor performance, evaluate risks and increase system reliability and integrity.
Some of the key benefits of internal audits
- Improves the management of internal control within the organisation
- Identifies gaps, non-conformances and areas for improvement that can be used in internal strategic planning.
- Enable the business to become process-dependent rather than person-dependent
- Identifies inefficiencies in operational activities and provides action plan/recommendation to improve the overall efficacy of procedures.
- Serves as an Early Warning System, enabling deficiencies to be identified and remediated on a timely basis (i.e. before external, regulatory or compliance audits)
- Increases accountability within the organisation.
- Satisfies the requirement of ISO management system standard
Internal auditing is linked to the risk management process of the organisation, and internal audits are conducted based on the risk levels of their business activity. The business should ensure competent internal auditor are assigned to conduct the audit. A process for internal audit should be placed to schedule, plan, conduct audit and report audit findings to the management.
The established of an internal audit function need not be a costly investment. The business does not need to hire a suite of internal auditors and build a separate business unit for auditing. The internal audit function can be easily outsourced to expert consulting firms who will conduct the internal audit as per your requirements. Outsourcing the internal audit function prevents the management to take the deep dive and enables them to obtain more value for the business.
Leadership in the business would be well served by having an internal audit function assisting it with its risk assessment process and ensuring that the responsibility for maintaining a system of internal controls has been fulfilled.
Anitech consulting has an expert team of certified internal auditors that can help you with your internal audit function.