Definition of the term (“What is an audit?”)
An audit checks, if the requirements, processes, and guidelines meet prescribed standards or norms. Due to the high significance of quality, audits are often conducted as part of a quality management. This differentiates between two types of audits within the static and dynamic quality management.
On the one hand, there are audits with validating character within the static quality management, which provide proofs for the contractual agreements and which are only conducted once. On the other hand, there are audits taking up on development trends in the dynamic quality management, which provide the originators of changes with clear feedback on the effects of the implemented measures.
An audit can either be an internal audit and thus self-evalution or an external audit. The external audit differs from the internal audit in that it is a certified prerequisite in quality management and is carried out by recognised bodies. This could for example result in an official certification.
The audit trail should also be mentioned in connection with the audit. An audit trail is a procedure, which monitors the attempted and implemented actions of persons during a period of time, electronically documenting them. Moreover, the audit trail can also be a temporal sequence of actions, statuses and system states, which can be recreated according to traces such as bookings.
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What are the different types of audits?
Audit types according to the subject (extract):
- System audit (focus on the management system)
- Process audit (focus on individual processes)
- Procedure audit (synonym for process audit)
- Compliance audit (validation of conformity with a set of rules)
- and many more
Audit types according to the status of the auditor:
- Internal audit (an employee of the organization being audited acts as the auditor)
- Supplier audit (the quality management representative of a customer audits his supplier)
- Certification audit (by an independent auditor of a certifying authority)