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External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement


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  Post Number #1  
Old 15th October 2009, 03:29 PM
brandomenon's Avatar
brandomenon

 
 
Total Posts: 42
Please Help! External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

I have searched the forums trying to find if this has been covered before. I apologize if this is a re-thread.

We have very few customer audits, but there is one scheduled for next week. Because of the lack of customer auditor traffic through my door, I don't have a standardized form for auditors to sign to protect confidentiality and to define responsibilities and limitations during the audit.

Is this something that most people have in place? Does anyone have a sample agreement or portions that they would be willing to share?



Brandomenon

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  Post Number #2  
Old 15th October 2009, 03:36 PM
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Randy

 
 
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Re: External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

Let me ask....What do you really expect to get from a piece of paper other than a warm fuzzy?
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  Post Number #3  
Old 15th October 2009, 04:05 PM
Sidney Vianna's Avatar
Sidney Vianna

 
 
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Re: External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by brandomenon View Post

We have very few customer audits, but there is one scheduled for next week. Because of the lack of customer auditor traffic through my door, I don't have a standardized form for auditors to sign to protect confidentiality and to define responsibilities and limitations during the audit.
I don't have one to share, but would like to offer a "what if" question.

What if you present the customer auditor with a confidentiality agreement as s/he shows up at your door and s/he says s/he won't sign it, before legal reviews it. Will you prohibit the auditor from performing the audit?

This needs to be discussed and resolved before the auditor shows up. Otherwise, you can have one seriously pissed customer rep.
Thanks to Sidney Vianna for your informative Post and/or Attachment!
  Post Number #4  
Old 15th October 2009, 04:47 PM
brandomenon's Avatar
brandomenon

 
 
Total Posts: 42
Re: External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by Sidney Vianna View Post

I don't have one to share, but would like to offer a "what if" question.

What if you present the customer auditor with a confidentiality agreement as s/he shows up at your door and s/he says s/he won't sign it, before legal reviews it. Will you prohibit the auditor from performing the audit?

This needs to be discussed and resolved before the auditor shows up. Otherwise, you can have one seriously pissed customer rep.
I agree that it will cause problems if it is a surprise on audit day. I will get it to the auditor before, so at the very least they will have some idea of things I'm not going to let them do while they are here, plus the expectation that shared information during the audit needs to be kept confidential between the customer and supplier.

If they really don't want to sign it, I wouldn't force them to, but it might limit what they can see. This isn't meant for malice, just to communicate between our company and the incoming audit team that there may be sensitive information involved during the audit process and that we have the right to protect that information.

If this is not common, as both of the replies so far indicate, then I may not bother. I appreciate the input and the follow-up questions.
  Post Number #5  
Old 15th October 2009, 04:59 PM
Sidney Vianna's Avatar
Sidney Vianna

 
 
Total Posts: 8,306
Re: External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by brandomenon View Post

If this is not common, as both of the replies so far indicate, then I may not bother. I appreciate the input and the follow-up questions.
Restricting access of customer auditors is somewhat typical in business. Check the Automotive Customer Audit with 'Improvements' thread.

If I were a customer auditor and a supplier allowed unrestricted access to all the information about other customer products, especially competitors', I would be VERY concerned that they would also be allowing my competitors to see sensitive information of my products.
  Post Number #6  
Old 16th October 2009, 02:41 AM
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JaneB

 
 
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Re: External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

I agree with your logic, brandomenon, and think it's sound.

If they're customers or suppliers (ie, not third-party auditors) then the relationship between you should I think be subject to a few defined principles and guidelines. Apart from anything else, it gives you early warning if they and you aren't on the same page!

And yes, restricting access to what you will show them and what you won't is quite normal.
Thanks to JaneB for your informative Post and/or Attachment!
  Post Number #7  
Old 16th October 2009, 05:02 AM
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JoCam

 
 
Total Posts: 186
Re: External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

Hi Brandomenon,

We use a Non Disclosure Agreement for all Customers wishing to audit and Suppliers of our custom made components, I've attached a copy for your perusal. You can include details of Customers restrictions during the audit in the information section at the beginning.

This NDA should be sent and returned signed prior to allowing the Auditor on site.

Please note that this is written to English Law, and that if you were to use this example you will need to seek advice about the corresponding Canadian Law.

Hope it helps,

Jo
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Thanks to JoCam for your informative Post and/or Attachment!
  Post Number #8  
Old 16th October 2009, 07:20 PM
JaneB's Avatar
JaneB

 
 
Total Posts: 3,518
Re: External Auditor Confidentiality Agreement

I've seen examples of and signed stuff like this on various occasions. The one JoCam's posted (thanks!) of course is drawn up by a lawyer. If that isn't required - or you don't have time/resources - I'd write your own plain English one that captures what you want to say & have agreement on.
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