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    The compliance group has suggested that Compliance solely complete all inventory audits without any support from any other departments. They have also suggested that no other Operations or departmental representatives are present during this process. In my experience with other audits (ISO etc) this is never the case, all representatives for each functional area are present. I feel confused as the government would never audit our company blind. I consider this process to be out of alignment with best or standard industry practices Is there any logic or reason behind performing blind audits without any representation? The Compliance group suggests an external government auditor has suggested this process. Is there a requirement that would cause someone to suggest such an internal audit?


    Answer

    What is your real core issue? 
     
    The fact that “Compliance” wishes to “…complete all inventory audits without any support from any other departments,” does not impact either the independence of the audit or the credibility of the audit.  “Audit independence” aside, it’s curious that the Compliance group wishes to eschew the accepted “teaming” concept especially in those areas that require a more intimate knowledge of operations that would support such a review. 
     
    There is nothing in audit literature which either infers or compels the exclusion of Operational or departmental representatives during the process.  It is in fact an audit (and not a criminal investigation).  There are obvious benefits of an “operational rep” being available to the individual auditor but perhaps a potential influence not desirable to Compliance. 
     
    From the perspective of the audited department or operation, it’s always helpful to address a potential finding before it becomes a “written” one.  From the standpoint of the auditor, whose purpose is to serve much like a “go/no-go gauge” such assistance might appear disruptive or even argumentative.  Perhaps a “middle-ground” would be the assignment of an observer whose sole role is just that – observation – no exchanges with the auditor.  All tentative defect/deficiency findings can be discussed and clarified at the audit out-brief.
     
    While the Compliance group audit process you’ve outlined seems rather unconventional it is one that is surely a documented one and approved by your company officials.  It would not be out of bounds to ask for and review such procedures.  They might better substantiate the rationale for the audit process you describe.  While that might not resolve your concerns you will certainly become more familiar with Compliance and their approach to the overall audit function.
     
    Lastly, this respondent has seen nothing in literature that suggests such an audit approach; or as a revision to past audit approaches.  Your best bet is to review the Compliance group’s written procedures for codification of this process.  In effect, conduct you own audit!
     
     
    References:
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