For lots of businesses, the shift to remote working has been a sudden and unexpected one. As we adapt, the question of how to gain or maintain accreditations such as ISO9001 is being answered through remote auditing. Here we explain how remote audits work, but also, why whatever the circumstances, conducting audits remotely can be incredibly positive for your business, saving time and money.
What is a Remote Audit?
A remote audit is an audit that takes place without an auditor visiting your site, usually handled via the internet. The auditor may look at your premises, equipment and the work being done via video conferencing. They will need to look at your business documentation, for example policies, risk assessments and work instructions. They will also want to see evidence that procedures are being followed. Depending on how many standards you are being audited against, remote audits can take anything from a morning to a couple of days. The audit will run smoothly for you and your auditor if your documents and evidence are stored on the cloud, using storage software such as OneDrive or Dropbox, or a Quality Management System which runs entirely on the internet such as Jomo247.
“Having everything online and easy to find before any of this started meant we could hold our audit remotely without having to do any extra work, which really helped. Even better, with Jomo247 you can tag or reference documents in as many ways as you want, so my prep was shorter than usual” – Andrew Mitchell, First Fence
THE NEW NORMAL
When we return to work, remote auditing will still be a great option
With all your documents available online, your auditor can save time and money travelling to you then pass these savings on to your business. Without the restriction of their location, you can search online for any auditor who fits your needs and price range, even if they are based overseas.
How can my business prepare for a Remote Audit?
Like with any type of audit, preparing well not only helps the audit run smoothly but also greatly reduces stress for you and your team. When booking an audit, make sure you are booking far enough in advance that you have time to audit yourself against the standards you want to meet, such as ISO9001. If you are new to the standard, it might be a good idea to book after you have completed your internal audit, then you can schedule the work you need to complete before the audit is due. Some businesses choose to have someone else to do this first audit with them, either a trusted person from another business, or a consultant booked via a service like Jomo247, so they know nothing will be missed. Check that you have all the mandatory documentation, but also that your team are following the procedures you have put in place to show compliance. Lastly, remember that an audit isn’t a test – the auditors have the same interest as you at heart, the improvement of your business and the satisfaction of your customers.