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Time Allocation for Internal Audits

LesPiles

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hello everyone,

In some time, we will conduct internal audits. We are a small company (I would rather say a medium one), 130 people, ISO 9001 Certified and engaged in the design and production in addition to other services.

Internal auditors are borrowed from other departments. I am asked (by auditors as well as their section leaders) how much time is required for this exercise (including preparation, audit report).

We do only the "minimum" in terms of audits, so our auditors have little experience. To my knowledge, there is no standard for the allocation of time required.


As a rule of thumb, two (2) nonconsecutive half-days of preparation and two (2) nonconsecutive half-days are needed. What do you think ?


Thank you to all in advance.
 
#2
Have you based this on experience of doing audits previously? Or is this simply a guess? What are the scope and criteria for the audits? Are they the same each time? (I hope not) You may have to simply estimate something based on sitting down and doing it, but 2 half days to prepare for an internal audit? To do what? 8 hours of preparation? A CB auditor gets less to do a full system audit! You may need some time, but if the auditors are coached and given effective planning tools, I can't see it taking 8 hours!
 
#3
Been down this road for various reasons - I collected data in a company half your size and reached the following conclusions.

Rudimentary training in conducting process audits: 4 hours, maybe less or more based on the person's experience. Assuming that you try to draft the sharpest tools available.

Preparing for an audit: Dependent on the complexity of the process to be audited. Can range from an hour to half a day.

Conducting the audit: As above. Half an hour to half a day.

Documenting the audit: Depends on the person's analysis and writing capabilities. I usually co-author these documents acting as the voice of reason and editor. Again, process being audited determines complexity and size of audit report. 1 - 4 hours.

What was the question? Oh, yeah. I think your estimate is good. You'll find it will be less for some persons / processes, and more for others. Some people can sum up things neatly, others could take the information I've shared in this post and consume 11 pages to convey it.

So I'd say a day to two days for training and to completely document their first audit, then after that it gets simpler, say a few hours total per audit. Unless, you have people who I have described above.

My advice is try to avoid using the latter persons for auditors.
 
Last edited:

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
Hello everyone,

In some time, we will conduct internal audits. We are a small company (I would rather say a medium one), 130 people, ISO 9001 Certified and engaged in the design and production in addition to other services.

Internal auditors are borrowed from other departments. I am asked (by auditors as well as their section leaders) how much time is required for this exercise (including preparation, audit report).

We do only the "minimum" in terms of audits, so our auditors have little experience. To my knowledge, there is no standard for the allocation of time required.

As a rule of thumb, two (2) nonconsecutive half-days of preparation and two (2) nonconsecutive half-days are needed. What do you think ?


Thank you to all in advance.
LesPiles,

First you need top management's objectives for your audit programme as recommended by ISO 19011.

Then you need to select people for auditor training who behave as recommended by ISO 19011.

Make sure at least one auditor is competent to conduct system audits to verify conformity of your management system to ISO 9001.

Make sure your audit team is trained and coached so it comprises between 6 to 8 competent auditors able to fulfill the objectives of the audit programme and of each audit.

Schedule internal audits so each auditor does at least one every quarter to build and maintain their competence.

Pair your strongest auditors with the others until they are competent or are replaced. After a while they may be able to audit alone.

Audit each process according to the results of your risk assessment. You may find the vital few processes need auditing 4 times more frequently than the stable less risky processes.

A process audit rarely takes more than four hours including prep and reporting time. Avoid wasting auditor time on doing the work of operators and supervisors in monitoring their processes per 8.2.3.

The training takes as long as it takes in the classroom and on supervised or coached audits until the auditor is competent or replaced.

The time it takes to develop a competent auditor largely depends on who you select in the first place.

John
 
#5
I'm not sure that it's entirely the appropriate measurement to question "how long" an audit takes. Rather, if we have a well defined audit scope and criteria, we should focus on WHEN the audit takes place. An internal audit programme which is based on some arbitrary calendar of doing the whole system of processes each year or similar will default to how long does it take, because it just has to fulfil a simple requirement - "just do it".

If an audit programme is based on status and importance, the auditors have to prosecute the audit until such a conclusion has been reached about the ability and effectiveness of the management process(es) to meet their stated goals - it matters not in that case, how long the audit takes (in relative terms)
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
LesPiles,

Time is a resource that is much easier to obtain when everyone can see it is necessary to fulfill top management's objectives for your internal audit programme.

John
 
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