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Are You A Versatile Auditor?

ISO 19011 does include 13 personal behaviours that apply to us as auditors.

Considering our current restrictions with Covid-19 I thought the personal behaviour that most applies currently is Versatile.

The Versatile personal behaviour means to adapt to different situations.

This has been highlighted recently, with a couple of my own audits being impacted by the current restrictions. I actually had an audit scheduled for today and of course now with a lockdown current, this has had to be postponed. Unfortunately, this audit has already been postponed from last month’s 3-day lockdown, so we’re not having much luck!

At this stage, we’ve decided to look at rescheduling once we know whether the lockdown is ending or not. Obviously, if it is extended any longer, I will need to be versatile again and come up with another way to conduct the audit. I know that the obvious way would be to conduct the audit remotely. However, this particular client maintains their system in hard copy.

It is a small business and their manual, procedures, internal audit reports, inspections, and management review minutes are all maintained in a lever arch folder in hard copy.

So, when I'm on-site I go through the folder as part of the audit. I’m going to have to think outside the square if the lockdown continues – maybe the folder has to be posted? 😊 I don't know? I'm hoping it's not going to come to that; however, you can see that I have to try and think about how I can actually get this done within the timeframe that's needed.

I have another client in Melbourne that I have had to create an audit plan and timetable for 3 times! The first one was to conduct the audit all on-site. The second one was going to be split between remote and on-site. Finally, with restrictions and lockdowns, the last audit plan and timetable I completed was for it to be conducted completely remotely. Remote Team-1

The big takeaway here also is to always be communicating with your audit clients. Don’t keep your clients guessing. Let them know what the changes are as you know.

This is not only important for audit planning however during the conduct of an audit. You need to communicate with them to tell them what you're thinking all along the way.

This is another area where we have to be versatile – with changes to the audit timetable. Something I always say when putting your timetables together is to not get too hung up about it. Because guess what?

The day you turn up something will change so you have to be prepared to be flexible. I’ve turned up for audits and my first interviewee couldn’t make it because their kids were sick and they couldn’t find anyone to look after them, or they’re running late, there’s been an incident that needs their attention, or a client or supplier has turned up on-site.

Something always happens – after all, they are running a business.

I'm not saying to be a pushover. I understand that you have certain things that have to be done in a certain time however you can modify your timetable accordingly. Work with your client not against them. My timetable is used as a checklist, and it’s scribbled all over by the end of the audit. I use it to stay on top of changes and record it as I go.

To finish off – key takeaways are:

- Be versatile and have the ability to adapt to change

- Communicate all the time – be open, transparent, and clear

- Don’t get hung up on your timetables. They can be modified as needed

Stay flexible and Happy Auditing

Note – this is an excerpt from the Auditor Training Online Facebook Live, view the video here.