Internal Audits - Are you Neutral and Unbiased? Do you react to the objective data?


Al Cohen

Elders and betters - Your opinions please.

Q: When auditing internally, do you imagine that you are a neutral to your company and react to the objective data that you are presented with or do you act on what you already know?


Q: Do you have any customer supplied product?
A: No!

How would you react, considering that you know that your company does have customer supplied product? This question is completely hypothetical - fortunately I have never been put in this situation...
Neutral? Me? Most certainly not. When I do an IA I try to dig up and present improvement potential.

In the example given I'd start a discussion about something I consider to be a customer supplied product. After all, I may be mistaken...



I have a Quality Manager friend that took over a year to convince everyone that he "worked for the product". Every decision he made was based on the best interest of the product. Things have become much smoother now that it is established. Everyone knows where he stands and his behavior is understandable.

As auditors, we need to do much the same thing. We work for the QMS. We report what we see. In your scenario, I would ask about specific product (that I know to be customer supplied). Hey! Isn't that what Claes just said?

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Agreed. If you're trying to improve things, not just rubber-stamp things to cover-up problems or go through motions just to maintain a cert., why not use all of your knowledge to try to better the company?


Trusted Information Resource
In an audit I definitely need to be objective. But there's a difference between being objective and being uninformed. If the information is known to me, I definitely would follow up based on my knowledge. Then, any decisions I make regarding conformity to requirements or effectiveness of implementation must be based on verifiable facts.

One of the things that internal auditors do is follow-up and verify effectiveness of corrective actions. I would have a tough time doing that if I had to pretend I didn't know that a problem existed.

Back to your hypothetical question - if I already know that customer property exists in the company, I would probably not ask "do you have...?" I might ask something like "what customer property do you have?" or "show me how you protect customer property?"

M Greenaway

My advice would be not to ask closed questions such as that.

If you know the company has customer supplied product its a bit of a pointless question anyway, unless you are trying to determine the honesty of the auditee.

Normally I would look at a product or item and try to trace the item back to purchase order, this should tell me if the item is customer supplied or not. Then I would look for the requirements for control of customer supplied product to be applied.
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