What exactly is an external ISO audit?

We’ve all heard of an external ISO audit and know these take place when your management systems are being checked, but what exactly does the audit consist of?  We’re here to explain – in plain English!

An ISO Audit in basic terms means checking to ensure you are actually doing what you say you are doing.

There are three ways in which audits can be conducted:

On-site audits – these are performed in full days.  The number of days needed for an audit depends on several factors including size, complexity, risk and nature of the organisation.

Remote audits – these may be performed via web meetings or teleconferencing, these are popular at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Self-audits – these do not always mean an internal audit.  A self-audit can be requested by your customer to eliminate the need for them to use their resources.

The external certification audit is the final step before companies receive certification.

The external audit will basically consist of three steps:

  • Opening meeting
  • Audit of processes and the quality management system
  • A closing meeting

In the opening meeting, the management team and the auditor will meet to go over the quality objectives. At this meeting, the auditor will discuss what his role will be along with the schedule of the events for the audit.

After the opening meeting, the audit of the processes and quality management systems will start.  This is the main audit event where you will get insights of what you could improve and of what you’re doing well.

The auditor will ensure your documentation meets all the requirements of the standard. He or she will also make sure that all procedures and processes are correctly followed, the auditor will go through your purchasing, sales and accounting processes to ensure all steps within your businesses are documented and you have full traceability on actions.

Hopefully, by following the internal audit steps you should pass this with flying colours.

Depending on the findings, the auditor will either recommend you be granted your certification or require corrective actions before you can be accredited.

Thirdly, comes the closing meeting, this is where the auditor reviews the entire audit with the company’s managers that were involved and will make a recommendation based on the findings.

Ready to get started with an external ISO audit?

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