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Benefits of Internal Audit

In the ISO world, All ISO management system standards require the business to have an internal audit process and system to regular internal audits. Many small and medium business owners think that internal audits are usually only needed for larger firms and mostly financial auditing.

The primary objective of internal auditing against the ISO standard is to regularly review critical business processes to ensure that the system conforms to the planned arrangement and organisational requirement and that the system is effectively implemented and maintained.

What is an internal audit?

Internal audit, a type of audit, is a systematic, independent & documented process to obtain & objectively evaluate evidence of compliance with the policies, procedures & requirement of the management system.

Internal audit helps the management to evaluate if the internal control within the business is maintained and effective. Internal controls can be either process controls or system controls that are implemented as risk mitigation actions to address the risks identified within that process and system. By maintaining and improving the effectiveness of internal controls, business will be able to significantly improve process efficiency, meet regulatory requirement, monitor performance, evaluate risks and increase system reliability and integrity.

Some of the key benefits of internal audits

  • Improves the management of internal control within the organisation
  • Identifies gaps, non-conformances and areas for improvement that can be used in internal strategic planning.
  • Enable the business to become process-dependent rather than person-dependent
  • Identifies inefficiencies in operational activities and provides action plan/recommendation to improve the overall efficacy of procedures.
  • Serves as an Early Warning System, enabling deficiencies to be identified and remediated on a timely basis (i.e. before external, regulatory or compliance audits)
  • Increases accountability within the organisation.
  • Satisfies the requirement of ISO management system standard

Internal auditing is linked to the risk management process of the organisation, and internal audits are conducted based on the risk levels of their business activity. The business should ensure competent internal auditor are assigned to conduct the audit. A process for internal audit should be placed to schedule, plan, conduct audit and report audit findings to the management.

The established of an internal audit function need not be a costly investment. The business does not need to hire a suite of internal auditors and build a separate business unit for auditing. The internal audit function can be easily outsourced to expert consulting firms who will conduct the internal audit as per your requirements. Outsourcing the internal audit function prevents the management to take the deep dive and enables them to obtain more value for the business.

Leadership in the business would be well served by having an internal audit function assisting it with its risk assessment process and ensuring that the responsibility for maintaining a system of internal controls has been fulfilled.

Anitech consulting has an expert team of certified internal auditors that can help you with your internal audit function.

What Does ISO9001 Help Achieve?

Companies who produce products? or deliver services that are supplied to customers, whether countrywide, or worldwide need to have standards by which they measure their products? oe services in order to ensure that quality is maintained at a level that is acceptable. Products and services need to consistently meet the requirements of the customers, and standards should be ever-improving. The ISO9001 standard addresses many important factors relating to quality management.

ISO 9001 is a guideline by which organisations can measure their quality standards. This is a standard which companies can obtain a certification in, although this is not really required. This standard can be implemented by any company, regardless of size or field of activity or industry.

This particular standard is based on various quality management principles. The focus lies predominantly on customer focus, the role of top management in motivating and implementing the standards, the actual process, as well as a need for continual improvement of standards.

By implementing the standard set out in ISO9001, companies can ensure that their customers receive consistently high standards and good products and services. By doing so, the company will reap the many business benefits on offer.

The Principles

The principles of ISO9001 are well-defined guidelines which assist any company in meeting the criteria and surpassing expectations. There are seven basic principles that should be adhered to. Customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process of approach, improvement, evidence based decision making, and relationship management. Each of these principle carries with it benefits that are invaluable for any business.

Customer focus – The main aim of the standard is to meet and exceed customer expectations. By achieving this, your business will reap the rewards. Increased customer value, increased customer satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, enhanced repeat business, growth and enhancement of reputation of the business or organization, grow your customer base, and benefit from the increased revenue and market share.

Leadership – In order for any process to work in an organization, there needs to be direction and purpose. Good leadership will create unity, and conditions where the people involved are all motivated to achieve the company?s quality goals and objectives. A good leadership structure will ensure that there is an increased efficiency and effectiveness at achieving the quality objectives of the company, better co-ordination of the processes involved, improved communication between all levels within the business and a better understanding of the function of each, as well as increased development and improvement in the capability of the business and the staff to deliver the results that are desired.

Engagement of the people – The staff, as well as the management of an organisation are all required to work together in order to reach the desired quality standard results. An environment conducive to the enhancement of the company?s capability to produce and deliver quality and value. A company who has a staff and managment who are all geared towards the same end result will always perform more efficienctly, and reach objectives with effectiveness. Good communication will ensure that there is a better understanding of the company?s quality objectives as well as motivation to reach the goals set, a well-oiled machine headed in the same direction will ensure that involvement of all the staff to improve, each member of the team will have a desire to achieve and develop on a personal level, and trust will become a mutual factor between all members of staff regardless of designation. Team work is required to achieve the standards set out.

Process of Approach – Results will always be best achieved and with greater effectiveness and efficiency when the tasks being carried out are fully understood by all involved. Each activity needs to work together as a coherent system rather than individual tasks. Inter-related process is what the ISO 9001 quality management system is built around. By completely understanding how results can be achieved through the system is what gives the company the edge. Efforts are better directed at areas which are key to the process and where there is possibibility to improve on performance. Once implemented effectively and managed efficiently, resultscan become more easily predicted and consistent. This approach achieves best results when the objectives and goals of the process in clearly defined. Authority, responsibility and accountability for managing process must be established from the start. The necessary information required to properly operate the processes, monitor, analyse and evaluate them overall system must be readily available. Risk management is key to ISO 9001. Risks that can affect the process output and the results of the quality management system must be assessed and managed effectively.

Improvement – A company that is headed for success is one that is always focused on where improvement can be made. In order to maintain current levels of performance it is vital that a company focus on improvement at all times. Being prepared to adjust and react to change, whether internal or external, is a fundamental factor.

Evidence-based decision making – Decisions made on solid analysis and evaluation of all the information on hand are the decisions most likely to produce results that are desired by the company. This principle benefits the company in many ways and in doing so allows ISO 9001 to become the useful asset that it is meant to be. Decision making processes are improved, assessment of process information and the ability to achieve objectives is enhanced. Operation effectiveness and efficiency shows vast improvement. In order to ensure that this principle is effective the company needs to determine and monitor the performance of the company, make all the relevant data and information accessible to the relevant people and it must be accurate, reliable and secure. Suitable methods should always be used to evaluate and analyse data. Decisions and actions must be based on evidence, experience and intuition.

Relationship Management – A company must manage its relationships with all interested parties at all times in order to maintain and sustain success. Interested parties such as suppliers influence the performance of any company. Maintaining these relationships ensures that the impact of said parties on performance is optimized. The interested parties must understand the goals and values of your organization so that they can better cater to the requirements. A chain of supply that is well-managed will always provide a stable influx of goods and services.

It becomes apparent that there is far more to a successful operation than simply putting out good products or services. Each and every link in the process in imperative to success and improvement. ISO 9001 certification allows every company the opporutnity to take advantage of what is right in front of them, and reaching for the top.



The value of ISO 9001 certification

What Is ISO Certified?

If a system is ISO certified it assures the people who have purchased the system that it is in fact reliable and of a high quality. The ISO 9001 system is one that carries many benefits and provides you with approval by many clients both local and international. The ISO 9001 quality management system is not only used by companies that produce products but also for companies that provide services. The management system is not a requirement and is completely voluntary to implement. The benefits of implementing such a system are invaluable to your business. Productivity will be increased and the efficiency and effectiveness of company operations will have far-reaching effects. The reasons for wanting to gain certification vary from wanting to motivate staff by setting clearly defined goals or it may simply be a requirement withing the context of their risk management program.

Who Certifies A Company?

A company can never be certified directly by ISO but rather by one of their accredited partners and private certification bodies. The certification may be stamped with the seal of ISO, however this does not mean it was issued by the institution. Certification is based on a Conformity Assessment which is evaluated by the Committee and they base this on many standards which are related to the certification process.

The Value of Audits

Audits are one of the most important parts of the ISO management process. These audits allow a company to understand whether they are on the right path to obtaining the official certification and if not, where do adjustments and changes need to be implemented. It must be remembered that although any company can implement the quality management system, obtaining certification will gain you good ground within the industry and the market. ISO 9001 certification ensures that waste and errors will become less and less and the quality of goods and services will improve drastically and consistently. ISO 9001 companies are more likely to attract investors both nationally and internationally. More confidence and trust is placed in companies that are ISO 9001 certified than those who are not.

Facts and Figures

  • 178 Countries are members
  • There are 3335 technical bodies responsible for the development of standards
  • 150 people work full time for ISO in Geneva, Switzerland
  • There are nearly 20000 individual ISO standards
  • There have been 1.1 million certificates issued across 178 countries
  • 42000 companies or organizations in North America are ISO 9001 certified
  • 29000 companies or organizations in the United States are ISO 9001 certified
  • Sections to ISO 9001 – Scope, normative reference, terms and definitions, quality management system, management responsibility, resource management, product realization and measurement, analysis and improvement
  • ISO 9001 organizations or businesses are paid more on average as they are deemed more competent and trustworthy
  • The increased benefits of becoming certified include higher demand for products and services, increased market share and improved company perception
  • Improved financial performance is noticeable after ISO 9001 certification
  • Better sales growth is registered in certified companies as opposed to those that are not certified

ISO is so much more than a set of guidelines to build your quality management? system around, this is your chance to improve the atmosphere in your work environment, share the responsibility and accountability, and create a dream team. By improving the team with which you work and becoming a partner rather than a boss to them you create an atmosphere where you become approachable. Once you become approachable you will find that suggestions and ideas begin to flow freely from every staff member, each committed to the cause.

The overall improvement in the product or service you produce will be more than enough to boost the confidence of your employees and encourage further productivity and change. Everybody will understand the goals and the path to those goals. Financial reward will be felt by all once the processes are streamlined the waste is reduced and let?s admit in this day and age, money talks loud and clear.? By rewarding, you encourage.

In the ISO 9001 management process there is a huge emphasis placed on the consumer or customer. This process is directed at meeting the needs, expectations and requirements of those that purchase your products. Customer satisfaction is paramount in the pursuit of increased market share, confidence and sales increases.

If your expectations of what you can achieve from the ISO 9001 process are still on shaky ground you can simply implement the processes to see if there are improvements in production, consistency , waste reduction and staff morale before you take the step to becoming certified. A tremendous part of the ISO 9001 process is documentation. This paperwork has to be in order, up to date and available as? this is the means by which you measure improvements or realise where changes need to be implemented. This documented evidence is what will be used during any form of auditing process.

Bear in mind if you are considering this for of quality management process, gone are the days of you, the boss, dictating, you have to adjust to become part of a team. You have to be prepared to take the good with the bad, dish out commendations when necessary but also reprimand but, you yourself cannot expect to receive all the praise for a system operated by the people as a team. I think for many this is one of the greatest obstacles to achieve but one that is well-worth getting past. The sooner that line is abolished, the sooner your team will become one. It is time to make the change, see improvements and put your business on the map.

?ISO 9001 certification can?assist you on your path to consistent quality products and services, gaining trust from your client base, attracting new investors and opening the horizons to the international market. Your team will get you there but you need to ensure they have all the tools readily available and the confidence from you to drive them forwards.