In my experience with audits, I have found that the organizations that prepare throughout the year are generally more successful than those that attempt a crash course weeks before an audit.
These last minute preparation efforts often lead to increased costs resulting from a redeployment of resources. In addition, it can contribute to confusion and frustration throughout an organization. This “cramming” often makes employees anxious, causing them to perform poorly.
Successful companies have transitioned to systemic, daily processes which has them constantly prepared for an audit. Not only does this improve the overall external audit process, it increases the productivity of the entire organization.
The most effective way to increase organizational preparedness is to perform regularly scheduled internal audits. These audits should carry the same significance as an external audit and the auditor, who is not responsible for the activity being audited, must have the ability to look critically at operations and report honestly without fear of reprisals. The company must take proper steps to continually improve internal processes, resulting in a more effective operational environment.
By instituting an effective audit management program, organizations have a tool to help streamline business processes, improve productivity and increase customer satisfaction