Internal & External Auditors: Similarities and Differences


How do internal and external auditors differ, and how should they relate?

Let's start with internal audits, the internal auditors they're part of your management system. They're a technique or internal audits and the internal auditor is a technique that's used for internal business improvement.

If you look at the ISO standards, there's three objectives to make sure you're in-line with the standard, so it's an internal audit against the standard you can grab one of the free checklists from our website to help you with that. There's a checklist for each of the ISO standards on the website, you download it, you start an internal audit and you can answer the questions.

So that's an internal. The three objective are compliance with the standard, compliance with your planned arrangement, so your management system, the things you said you would do. Are you doing the things you would said you will do and then the third objective is to identify opportunities for improvement.

So across any of the management system standards that are talking about internal auditors, they're your three objectives. The external auditors - like we are here at Best Practice - are all about verifying compliance from the standard and the system having implemented and then helping you to grow your business and identify opportunities for improvement.

Now we've done agenda, we've got to be able to put a hand on your heart or in this case our hand on our Best Practice logo and say that we've seen enough evidence to demonstrate that you comply with the standard so that you can have a certificate you can use our great Best Practice logos and you can say that you're certified.

So, they're the two different ways.

Now how do they relate it's often good for an external auditor and an internal auditor to chat when there's an external audit taking place so that they can discuss the internal audit strategy what the priorities are and ensure that the external audit program and the internal audit program complement each other but don't duplicate and probably the principal thing you want to try and avoid there in the business is internal audit fatigue.

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