Everyone is familiar with the idea of audits. One place we are all aware of audits is in the banking industry. For years, the government has required banks to submit to periodic audits by government agencies and/or external companies who specialize in auditing. Few people want to put their money in a bank where there are no controls such as periodic audits. If there are no audits, you have no way of knowing if your bank is using your money well. If the bank is not ‘using your money well’ the bank could easily fail - then you could lose all of your money.
Audits in other service industries and in manufacturing industries are not new. Customer audits have been going on for years. But only recently has the idea of third party audits become reality. This is in large part due to the adoption in Europe of ISO 9001 and other international standards.