Over 100,000 businesses have closed since the pandemic began, and this number only continues to rise.
Have you felt the need to shut your doors in this economy?
Businesses currently face so many pressures to keep employees safe and profit incoming. Thinking on compliance certifications and safety standards may be last on the list of concerns. But the need to uphold proper operations is key to success.
The pandemic makes it difficult or impossible to undergo in-person audits. This is why remote audits have become crucial for many. There is a lot to learn about the relatively new process to continue meeting business standards.
Continue below for our guide on the remote audit process and how to prepare in advance.
Creating the Plan
Creating a plan and outlining the purpose to conduct remote audits sets you up for long-term success.
First, you must outline stakeholders and their responsibilities in the process. Building the audit team at the beginning of the process creates clear swim lanes of communication and action.
Next, you should review your Quality Management System (QMS) to make any necessary updates. A remote audit calls for a secure network and protected data tools to run without the threat of cyber-attacks. Ensure your QMS and all other systems have the security level they need, including the use of VPNs or password-protected documents.
Finally, outline the purpose of your remote audit. This allows you to work with the auditor team to get what you need from the process. An initial risk assessment creates a strong baseline for an upcoming audit.
Gathering the Documents for Remote Audits
The remote audit process needs large amounts of documentation to keep the business’s operations transparent and accessible.
Create digital copies of needed documents and password-protect them for security purposes. Documents to consider gathering include:
- Past audit records
- Legal agreements for electronic recording
- Nonconformance log
- Virtual audit project outline
Preparing your documents beforehand allows for a smooth electronic audit. Use this step to ensure organization across documents and stakeholders.
Various Reviews Involved in a Virtual Audit
The next phase of a remote audit process is the review stage. Your clear purpose and detailed organization create clarity between your team and the auditors in the review.
A document review will need a steady internet connection, video software, and shared documentation. Be prepared with a scanner for other documents that the auditor may need at the time.
Facility reviews are the next phase of an audit, which tend to be the most difficult to recreate in a virtual setting. Several factors determine whether a full or partial facility review is needed. Provide maps, photos, and videos with the auditor to ease this process.
Your auditor directs this phase of the review, calling our particular areas of the facility to see. You should equip the space with strong WiFi and high-quality cameras to allow for easy viewing.
Interviews and Conclusions
The final phase of remote audits is no different than an in-person review: interviews. Program owners and personnel should be aware of their involvement before to have proper video equipment. Auditors led the consultations and come with questions ready.
Finally, a remote closing meeting is scheduled between the auditor and stakeholders. You can be prepared with secure documentation access if your auditor has paperwork to provide.
Preparing for Your Remote Audit
The pandemic places a lot of stress on your shoulders as a business owner or manager. Remote audits should not add to your burden. Use this guide to audits to prepare for an upcoming virtual session with the proper documentation, media, and technology.
Are you looking for other business how-tos? Continue setting yourself up for success by reading more helpful articles and prepping for your future.