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Is there a magic formula for audit success?

Magic formula

isCompliant helps clients through the audit process all year round. By making your business more organised, and much more transparent, isCompliant guides organisations towards certification in the ISO Standards that are so crucial to their prosperity. As a result, we’re pretty clear on the ‘magic formula’ that makes for a successful audit. Want to know what they are?

Leadership that gets its hands dirty

The lonely figure of the ‘management rep’ of the old 9001 standard is long gone. These days, audits will not turn out well if you don’t have people at the helm who are willing to get stuck in. The boss and immediate reports have must know what’s happening with the quality management system and – crucially – how it works. In addition, the management team need to get into the habit of setting actions and objectives that the wider company can understand, aim for, and close off regularly. Management reviews reveal to everyone how this process is moving along and whether the business is on track. Clear, current, and shared objectives are key. It may sound like fiction, but we’ve witnessed situations in the field where one wide-eyed admin has had to think up company objectives on the hoof in the vain hope they’ll meet the standard requirements. You can imagine this doesn’t go well – the objectives are invariably low level, aren’t necessarily achievable, and don’t even align with what the directors want to do. Don’t be that company.

Shared documents

This is where our business management system isCompliant is invaluable. As part of the daily routine of running your business, all documents and records are uploaded to isCompliant, keeping everything ship-shape and Bristol-fashion, by default, every day. And what’s more, every update or revision is uploaded there too, so auditors don’t have to ask for updated registers, certificates, and the other gubbins vital to the audit. In the absence of isCompliant, you can still get your document storage into great shape with a little effort. Get the team together and decide on a central, shared folder where all documents are saved, so any one of you can put a hand on it in a hurry, from any computer. Go through the documentation as a team. Is it all there? Does everyone have access? Does everyone remember their password for the folder? Can anyone see any gaps? Not rocket science, but nevertheless vital.


If your mum railed at you to tell the truth when you were a kid, and it’s stuck, you’ll be just fine. For example, a client may admit to an auditor that they had currently have no trained first aiders on site as one had left and two had lapsed their training. It’s likely that the audit will result in a minor non-conformity, but this could easily be addressed by booking a training course. Conceal something larger, like an outdated risk assessment in a 45001 audit, and the stakes are higher. A major non-conformity will stall certification until the problem is fixed. So, to save time and stress, identify what you’ve swept under the carpet way before the auditor darkens your door. Ultimately, the auditor is not the enemy, but someone working with you to an end point – securing certification. To help make that happen, the auditor need facts, not fibs. When they get the facts, they can digest, move on, and help you address the issue quickly. Think collaborators, not antagonists.

Commitment to improving

The last quality that we note in businesses that audit successfully is that they have a thirst for continual improvement. They’re not just in it for getting the certification and forgetting about it. If your company adopts the habit of setting actions and objectives and, ultimately, gets a kick out of closing them off regularly, you’re well on your way to a successful audit. Heck, you might even enjoy it!

If you need tips for staying calm in an audit, you can read more here.

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