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An audit is an investigation which is carried out systematically and usually independently by an auditor. An auditor, or audit team, uses a checklist or questionnaire to examine whether reality corresponds to the desired way of working. In doing so, the auditor identifies any structural deviations and determines their severity. All findings from the investigation are then reported by the auditor to the client. This is done in an audit report. In most cases, the management is the client. In this article, we will tell you what different types of audits there are and at what organisational levels they occur.

Different types of audits

There are different types of audits, internal and external audits.

  • Internal audits are a good hands-on management tool where you can achieve continuous improvement within a company. Conducting the audit can reveal risks and opportunities and identify improvements. Audits are initiated by the organisation itself. The auditors who conduct this audit are employed by the organisation.
  • External audits are carried out by an external party. For example, to certify your organisation or company for an ISO standard, you are required to have an external audit carried out by an independent person. External audits are periodic checks that are therefore commissioned by external organisations.

The organisational levels of auditing

Both internal and external audits can be carried out at three organisational levels:

  1. System audit
    In a system audit, the auditor focuses on a system as a whole. The auditor tests whether system requirements are met by quality management. In addition, the auditor looks at whether the system is functioning effectively and as desired.
  1. Process audit
    In a process audit, the auditor looks at the progress of a particular process. This process is gone through step by step by the auditor. At each step, the auditor tests whether the reality on the work floor matches the process description.
  1. Product audit
    In a product audit, the auditor looks at the output of the processes. An auditor will assess the quality of the product or service being delivered. Here, the auditor mainly looks at the features and characteristics considered important by the customer.

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