5 things you should do before submitting an audit
So there you are….it is about that time to click “send” which will whisk your recently completed audit away to the IBAC audit manager. Before you make that final mouse click your mind starts running over your audit report. You start wondering if you have completed the protocols correctly, if there are enough sufficient comments and supporting evidence, if all non-conformities have been properly analyzed….basically wondering if IBAC will be happy with the audit and agree with your recommendation.
Lawrence “Fletch” Fletcher, IBAC Audit Manager, has a few pointers to help you ensure that the audit you submit accurately represents the audited organization, provides value to that organization and ultimately has a better chance of being accepted.
1. Ensure all protocols and sub-elements are answered.
You would be surprised at how many audits we receive where several protocols haven’t been answered. More so, we have received audits where supporting comments and/or evidence have been entered in the right-hand column, but the associated protocol hasn’t been answered. According to the IS-BAO Audit Procedures Manual (APM), Chapter 4.7.3, “When a detailed protocol (8.2) item includes sub-elements, the auditor shall indicate their assessment of each of these sub-elements…” Simply put, any protocols and sub-elements used in support of the audit must be fully completed.
2. Ensure that all protocols are answered “Y, N, or NA”.
Continuing from above, the APM is very specific in how the protocols are answered. While it may be very tempting to put an “X” in the appropriate column when responding to a particular protocol, IS-BAO APM 4.7 again requires the auditors to indicate conformance, non-conformance or non-applicability with a “Y, N or NA”. While this may seem like a trivial requirement, the necessity also lies in the audit review. As the review team reads line by line, the required “Y, N, NA” provides a more visible and discernable response over a check or an X.
3. Make sure you do not use Civil Aviation Regulations as a response to a protocol question.
It is very comforting and impressive that so many of our auditors are so savvy with applicable Civil Aviation Regulations. However, if you remember from the Auditing Workshops, APM 4.2.1 states that “The basic standard to which the audit is conducted is the IS-BAO.” Therefore, all references should be made to the applicable standard(s) in the IS-BAO. While some IS-BAO standards do require compliance with State regulations, the guiding standard is still rooted in the IS-BAO.
4. Comments and analysis at the end of the chapter need to be made fully in view of the operator.
You know that box at the end of each chapter in the protocols called “Comments, Observations and Recommendations”? This is the area where the auditor can really provide value to the operator. In APM 7.1.5, it states “…comments also provide audit reviewers with valuable insights into the operator’s program and how the standards are being applied.” This means that by providing comments related to the operator’s success and areas for improvement, the auditor is not only providing a value-add for the operator but also allowing the audit review team better insight into this organization.
5. Read the APM.
While this may seem self-evident, it is still very important to mention. The Audit Procedures Manual is the guiding document that the audit review team uses to ensure the protocols and audit report form have been completed correctly as well as to determine if the recommendation by the auditor is consistent with the evidence provided. While this may not necessarily be an action completed in its entirety prior to every audit submission, the astute auditor will continually reference it during the completion of the audit. Beyond that, a full read at least yearly would work to keep you fresh not only on the audit procedures, but also on any of the annual changes to the document.
Performing an audit on an organization can be a laborious, tedious and stressful event. When it comes time to submit the report and protocols, you should be putting your best foot forward by submitting a correct and concise report to ensure the audited organization is correctly represented. The five tips above should help to put you on the right track to accomplish that goal and ultimately allow the organization to benefit.