ISO 9001: Types Of Audits And What Do Auditors Look For

ISO 9001
ISO 9001

The standards you anticipate from an ISO audit may vary greatly depending on the kind of business you work for. The purpose of an ISO audit is to determine whether or not a company’s management systems meet all applicable standards and regulations. Management system faults, both actual and potential, are uncovered in audits, and solutions are offered. Professionals from can help this audit go down without a hitch at your company.

There are three distinct audit methods:

  • On-site audits take a full day to complete. The size, sophistication, risk, and kind of organization all play a role in determining how long an audit will take. Guidelines for determining audit duration have been made available by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
  • Remote audits can be carried out using online meetings, teleconferencing, or computerized process verification. The effectiveness of remote audits is often lower than that of on-site audits, hence they are rarely used.
  • When we talk about self-audits, we don’t always imply an internal audit. The client can save time and effort by requesting that you do a self-audit, and you’ll still be able to reassure them that you’re up to par.

Audit Types

  • Internal

Audits conducted independently are called “internal audits,” and they consist of an on-site self-evaluation of the Quality Management System (QMS) in place at the company. Preparing for external audits is only one of the numerous benefits of doing internal audits. To get impartial results, the internal auditor needs to be detached from the audited department. 

It’s preferable to have many auditors so that no single person is responsible for auditing his or her own department. ISO 9001 mandates regular internal audits, which are crucial to the health of your quality management system.

Conformity, effectiveness, and areas for enhancement will all be evaluated by internal audits. Your quality management system’s conformity to the criteria may be assessed and any non-conformances can be identified through an internal audit. 

This will provide you the opportunity to make adjustments to your QMS, guaranteeing that your company will pass the external auditor’s standards and paving the way for certification.

  • External

Consumer, vendor, accreditation, and regulatory audits all fall under the broader category of “external audits”.  When a current or potential client conducts an audit of your business, they are ensuring that you can satisfy their needs. 

Supplier audits can be conducted on either active or prospective suppliers. Compliance with regulations concerning the control of external providers can be accomplished in part through the use of supplier audits.

  • Certification

Before issuing an official ISO 9001 certificate, your chosen registrar will perform a certification audit to ensure compliance with the standard. There are typically two phases to certification audits. 

The purpose of the first phase of an audit is to establish whether or not a company is prepared for the audit’s second phase. The first phase is frequently carried out remotely to save money on transportation.

The auditor will go on to stage two of the audit if they find your company meets the baseline requirements for stage one. Second-stage audits always involve a physical presence on the premises being audited. 

The auditor will conduct in-person and/or remote interviews with key personnel and conduct a thorough evaluation of supporting documentation to ensure that you are in compliance with all ISO 9001 standards. Usually, audits for certifications happen every three years.

  • Surveillance Audit

Surveillance audits are performed on a frequent basis by your registrar to ensure you are still following the guidelines set out by your Quality Management System (QMS) and ISO. Similar to certification audits, but not for obtaining or renewing a certificate, is the surveillance audit. As a rule, your registrar will perform them each year.

What Criteria Do ISO Auditors Look For?

In order to determine whether or not a company is in accordance with ISO standards, auditors will ask questions designed to elicit information about the system’s overarching purpose. 

The following are some scenarios in which an auditor may do a process assessment, as well as the context in which such an assessment would be performed. Each one of these cases is tailored to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015.

  • Organizational Development

ISO 9001’s competency training and awareness clause require auditors to monitor personnel training records. Auditors may look at job ratings, training test results, degrees, certificates, job descriptions, resumes, performance reports and training schedules to determine whether or not employees are qualified for their roles.

  • Effective Resource Management

The QMS audit process focuses on increasing and clarifying standards for management accountability in order to develop a quality-driven atmosphere and continuous organizational improvement.

  • Document Management

If an organization wants to comply with ISO 9001 quality management requirements, it must record its procedures for managing the creation, storage, and distribution of documents. 

Paper or digital, the files must be easily accessible and in categories that make sense for the business, such as spreadsheets, presentations, photos, and videos. They need to be clearly labeled, named, or numbered, and any revision has to be authorized by relevant parties.

  • Organizational Quality Management Systems

It is also important to select the appropriate e-QMS in order to meet the ISO standards, as this is not mandated by the standard but is generally seen as a best practice.


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