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What is the best way to Improve an Internal Auditors Effectiveness?

  • Thread starter Brenda Mundroff
  • Start date

Brenda Mundroff

Is it possible to improve an individual auditor's effectiveness? I have about 10 internal auditors and about 1/3 of them just don't get it! I have to question everything they put in their summary.
I know that it will come with time and individual attention. I'd like to speed up the process if I can. Any suggestions for areas to focus on? I also have about 10 more auditors coming out of 'training' this month.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Brenda Mundroff

The initial training for the internal auditors comes from an external firm. They are given the basics of ISO 9000 and a few tips on how to audit.

The 1/3 are folks with only a few years with the company and, consequently, don't have a good "systems-view" on day-to-day tasks. They also are not auditing to the documentation. Just asking what they do.

At this point, though, we are all pretty green at auditing. We have only been doing internal audits since 7/98. I'm just looking for a way to jump start the program into looking at how effective the processes are.
Some auditors are already doing this. Can't seem to budge this other group.

Any help is appreciated.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Just getting to a quick lunch now (2:17) and the afternoon is packed. I will be back to post, likely tomorrow.

Thanks for the additional info.



barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
Buddy the 1/3 up with the 2/3 that get it..sort of apprenticeship. For a starter.

Don't understand why your training is ISO basics and just a few auditing tips.....seems a bit lopsided to me. AND... YA can't just go in asking questions. The plan is what will keep them ontrack and get the value added results. I question the effectivity of te training. Some people never get it, and thats ok... auditing is a personal technique....sort of an art or a talent.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Have you identified the obstacles for this 1/3? Do you know why the other 2/3 do not experience the same problems? Who is providing the training (yourself or an outside firm)?

Sorry to hit you with three questions up front, but I would like to develop a better picture of your situation. I may be able to provide better potential solutions for you.



Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Good analogy, auditing being an art. Now how to make it a 'science' and effective to boot!


Good advice from Barb's corner. I always set up the auditors needing improvement with those who have a good understanding of auditing and do a good job at it, and for the most part, I have seen improvement. We had a discussion a few months ago within the forum on Auditing for effectiveness which I can associate with auditor effectiveness. Internal Auditing programs are difficult tasks for most folks, especially in their infancy. Many are "volunteered" and have a bad taste of it right of the bat. So how can you improve effectiveness (Areas to focus on)? With the questions I asked in my first post, you must determine all the obstacles and remove them; the good points, exploit them a bit too. To Barb's point; you will not be able to remove them all, so concentrate on the vital few (80/20 rule). What I do, I test my internal auditors on their knowledge of auditing, some questions on the ISO standard, to identify the weak areas. These I target as part of their on-going training. I have also noticed as folks begin to better understand the process, the auditing task is viewed less like a sentence. Improvement on understanding, length of auditing time, and reporting of audit results. Better all around.

I also question the effectiveness of your external training source. They should know about some of the traditional obstacles and work to remove them (i.e. How many folks here were VOLUNTEERED? and work to improve their attitude/perspective). You may want to see Barb on this point.

This is a longer term project. Speeding up the process can be accomplished with understanding the pros and cons with your auditors and audit program. So determine your specific "focus areas", address them, and continually improve the process.



Brenda Mundroff

Kevin and Barb,

Thanks for the advice. Identifying the obstacles is a greate place to start. I really like the idea of ongoing auditor training. I think that will improve communications between myself and the audit crew.

Pairing the 1/3 with the 2/3 normally would work, except the 1/3 work shifts and generally team with somebody else on their shift.

And believe it or not, these folks volunteered on there own. It definitely helps the level of enthusiasm.

Thanks again!

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
They can do an audit at the shift change/overlap......or have a professional come in and work with them. If they volunteered you need to 'fix' it fast or lose the support and get bad PR as well.

Have heard and see alot of good trainers here at the cove...where are you located? maybe someone is near enough for it to be cost effective have them come in and train your team properly. If you are a large operation, then it will be cost effective and better than that...a necessity.

Sometimes a different trainer can get the point across, people respond to different teacher personalities....what works for one, may not for another.

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
talk about communication.....I do an exercise in my internal auditor training, as a matter of fact marc posted it here a while back...called "the albatross" or one called 'veginots'. Both make you look at evidence, promote communication and the veginots even uses interview/feed back skills..and they are fun. Another exercise is the old/young woman slide...where depending on how you are led, everyone looks at the same drawing and sees either a young or an old woman. Makes you think how you "look" at things. By them selves they seem lame, but in a classroom setting with the proper presentation all are very effective. It takes the trainees away from the subject which is foreign to them, and gives them some of the same information in a fun and familiar format. Works for me....the success rate is great.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

I agree with making the topic less foreign by introducing fun exercises within the structure of your training program. Auditing in general can be a very dry topic. Very easy to loose/never gain interest. Keeping the interest of the group can improve results dramatically. I like to do the "good cop, bad cop" approach. Without going into detail, auditing candidates interview with practicing internal auditors, one being difficult, the other seemingly open. The practicing auditors try to steer the interview their way, to see how candidates effectively respond. Other candidates observe the interactions. Then we discuss the observations as a group. Fairly effective and it livens up a dull topic.


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