I’m often asked whether or not certain organisations and operations are more or less suited to a remote, or e-audit; my answer rarely changes. In light of this, I thought we’d take some time out and do an analysis from an expert on the topic. In today’s piece, we’re going to do some dissecting of an article published by Shauna Wilson via The Auditor. Shauna has a master’s degree in performance management, and works as the president of Amazon Consulting Inc., and is an IRCA-certified auditor and expert on the topic of remote auditing; a pretty good source, then.
“The old principles still apply, they’ve just been modernised to keep up with the speed of doing business in the 21st century.” - Kobi Simmat.
She starts off the piece with a pretty radical statement that acts to foreshadow where the industry is headed: “I am learning from others that some third-party registrars are not accepting internal audits that are conducted virtually,” she says. “Obviously a virtual audit is conducted for a remote office, in which most of the time, teams are working together online to communicate and resolve issues. Shouldn’t the audit method replicate the actual working environment?” Wilson defines an e-audit as “a systematic, independent, and documented process to obtain evidence through electronic means to determine the extent of conformity to the audit criteria,” noting that there’s an exponential increase in the rate of e-audits being conducted around the globe in an ever-more connected world.
“Validating an e-audit,” she continues to explain, “relies on the technology used and the auditor’s skill to facilitate a virtual meeting while coordinating with the remote location to find non-confirming evidence.” So, we can see from the aforementioned quote that so long as there’s adequate due-diligence on the part of the auditor, context isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to remote auditing. The old principles still apply, they’ve just been modernised to keep up with the speed of doing business in the 21st century.
“Most of the time, teams are working together online to communicate and resolve issues. Shouldn’t the audit method replicate the actual working environment?” - Shauna Wilson.
In a lot of ways, we’ve come to an intersection between the old-school and more traditional ways of doing things - things being audits in the context of this article - and the emergence of new technologies that can not only increase the speed at which quality assessments can move, but also the efficacy of these audits. In the minds of some, remote audits aren’t going to stick around, and for others, remote audits are the only way an organisation intends to move into the future with when it comes to their quality-driven goals, regardless of the context.