Remote audit refers to the use of technology to evaluate the level of an organization’s compliance with set criteria. It is also known as virtual audit, using electronic methods such as video conferencing, email and telephone to obtain audit evidence, just as in an on-site audit. Remote audit replaces face-to-face interaction, either internally or between a company and an external certifying body.
Benefits of Remote Audits
Some benefits of remote audit include the following:
- It frees up onsite resources.
- It is less disruptive to daily work processes.
- It supports maximized efficiency by allowing audit teams to work from different locations.
- It promotes an agile auditing process through the use of security-enhanced cloud computing which supports easy document sharing and video conferencing software.
- Increases risk mitigation.
What happens in a remote audit?
Remote audit is agile, responsive and dynamic in nature that evolves as it unfolds. It is led and guided by auditor requiring constant adjustments to audit questions, documenting requests as the audit progresses. In remote audit, interviews are conducted in real-time via video conferencing applications such as Zoom or Skype. During the audit process, documents and data are shared and reviewed on file-sharing apps.
Getting ready for remote auditing
A successful remote audit entails the following:
- Updating existing management systems (QMS, FSMS etc.)
- Determining an appropriate tool and infrastructure for the process,
- And, in the case of an internal audit, defining and developing the audit process. Security evaluations of shared tools, documents and networks may be required to support a remote audit. Updating policies and procedures relating to document and data access is essential to protecting the integrity of your organization.
6 Tips for Effective Remote Audits
The following are a few recommendations to support organization’s remote audit program:
- Appoint an onsite facilitator to manage the audit logistics. He/she will support in resolving any technical itches that may occur during the exercise.
- Clearly define the scope, purpose, timing, requirements and method of each audit.
- Establish clear-cut rules of engagement between the organization and the compliance or audit team. This should include covering expectations regarding the availability of role players, the frequency of status updates and engagements between defined points of contact.
- The audit exercise should be arranged so that audit activities do not disrupt the daily workflow.
- Regular check-in times with the auditors should be scheduled in enable easy track and evaluation of the audit progress, resolve problems and streamline the flow of communication.
Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations.
You can reach him here.
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