What is an audit, what forms are there and what are the results?

Want to know everything about audits? Then you are in the right place. Here you can read exactly what an audit is, what forms there are and what it benefits you to set it up properly.

What is an audit

The audit is a systematic periodic check performed by an auditor. On the basis of questionnaires or checklists, he investigates whether reality corresponds to the desired state of affairs. The auditor identifies any structural misstatements and determines the severity of the misstatement, and then reports these findings to the client. This client is usually the management. The results of an audit procedure are recorded in a report.

What types of audits are there?

There are internal and external audits. An internal audit is aimed at improving the ‘internal’ organisation. If you want to certify as an organization for a standard, the audit procedure is usually carried out by an external consultant who is hired for this. With ISO standards it is even mandatory to have the audit carried out by an independent person. External audits are periodic checks on behalf of external organizations.

You can perform audits (internal or external) at three (organizational) levels:

  • System audit
  • Process audit
  • Product audit

System audit

In a systems audit, an auditor focuses on a system as a whole. He checks to what extent the quality management meets the set system requirements and whether the system is effective enough and functions as desired.

Process audit

A process audit focuses on the course of a process. The auditor goes through the entire process step by step and checks whether the daily practice on the shop floor still corresponds with the process descriptions.

Product audit

A product audit is about the output of the processes. The auditor assesses the quality of the product or service and mainly pays attention to the properties and characteristics that the customer finds important.

What is an internal audit?

An internal audit is a systematic periodic audit, initiated by one’s own organization and performed by auditors employed by the organization. In fact, it is a management tool to identify opportunities and risks and to identify improvements.

Internal audit system: the ideal improvement tool

Often, in internal audits, the emphasis is on what goes wrong. A missed opportunity. A positive approach yields more: What is the strength of the organization and what can we learn from the things that are going well? Certainly when internal audits have been carried out within an organization for several years, ‘the routine’ can get in the way. With the help of updated software that is based on a positive question, you will achieve a better result. For example, an internal audit is experienced as inspiring and innovative and it increases the involvement of the employees.

Who carries out internal audits?

Financial auditor

Is everything financially justifiable? Are the administrative organization and the preparation of the internal annual accounts correct?

Operational auditor

Is the organization well set up? Are all components properly managed and is the quality of information, communication and control systems in order?

Quality auditor

Is the internal IT organization well structured and are responsibilities well covered? What about the hardware, the system software and applications, the internal and (if present) external network, security and disaster systems?

Kwaliteit auditor

Do people and systems work according to current instruction lists and manuals? Are work instructions, procedures and registrations up to date?

What is an external audit?

An external audit is a systematic periodic check on behalf of an external organization. This is usually a certifying institution or a customer. It could also be an industry association or a company interested in an acquisition. The initiative therefore comes from outside and lies with an independent institution. An external audit usually concerns the entire organization (certification audit) or those parts of the organization that have an impact on the product concerned (supplier audit).

Different types of external audits

Supplier audit

The quality of products, services and processes is often influenced by suppliers. In order to meet certain quality requirements, what the supplier delivers is of great influence. When a customer notices deviations, he can demand measures. This is the supplier audit. The supplier audit is an audit that is carried out on behalf of a customer. From the perspective of the customer, who performs this audit, it is a supplier audit. When the supplier is in possession of an ISO certificate, the need for the customer to perform a supplier audit is less great. For a customer, a certified supplier means that an independent body has established that the quality management system meets certain requirements and that this is monitored.

Certification audit

A certification body performs a certification audit at an organization to assess whether the quality management system meets the requirements according to an ISO standard. If the audit shows that the quality management system complies with this, the certifying body issues a certificate. In general, an ISO certificate is valid for three years. Every year the certifying body carries out an audit to assess whether the quality management system is still functioning adequately. A re-audit takes place after three years.


There are a large number of certification bodies in the Netherlands. These certifying bodies are recognized by the Council of Accreditation (RvA). The RvA supervises the certification bodies and issues a list of the certification bodies recognized by it in the Netherlands and abroad, in other words the RvA assesses the assessors. Since the certifying body is in turn tested by the RvA, impartiality, independence and expertise are guaranteed.

Why do audits?

Why should you use an audit? In principle, an audit provides you with the information on the basis of which you can implement improvements and makes it clear which measures you must take to maintain and/or improve the required quality. But you can also have an audit carried out because a specific standard prescribes this. For example, when the quality management system is certified based on the ISO or other quality standards.

What an audit can tell you…

  • Where there are bottlenecks and problems
  • Whether there are potential risks
  • Whether there are structural errors and in the quality management system
  • Where which improvements are needed
  • What is the effect of implemented measures
  • What is the effect of newly introduced activities
  • To what extent the quality management system contributes to achieving objectives
  • Whether your quality management system is still effective
  • Whether it is necessary to initiate other improvement opportunities

Benefits of doing audits digitally

Digitizing audits offers many advantages. Instead of clipboards and paper, you can easily perform, track and analyze the same checks digitally. You have real-time insight, your reports are always up to date and points for improvement are automatically distributed to the right people in the organization. Data no longer has to be entered in Excel, which saves you a lot of time.

Benefits of doing audits digitally

  • Creates overview
  • Works cost effective
  • Helps to signal and reduce risks
  • Strategic decision aid

Audit software

Smart software helps you digitize your audits and set up, plan, and execute. Reporting afterwards and linking follow-up actions to your findings is also a lot easier. As a result, the entire organization is involved in measuring and improving quality.

white paper

How to digitize audits and checks

The digitization of quality measurements is a change that is current in many sectors. In this white paper you can read how to approach this and what the benefits are.

White paper: Audits, forms and checklists


Essential features audit software

  • Quality management app
    Make entering audits and collecting data as easy as possible with a mobile app.
  • Visualize findings and points for improvement
    By offering the auditor the option to add videos, audio or photos to the findings, it becomes clear at a glance what areas for improvement are. Photos or videos say more than 1,000 words and with that you also reduce the chance of discussions afterwards.
  • Avoid discussions about results
    Is a result right or wrong and why? Determine in advance the margins within which an assessment is right or wrong, so that there is no ambiguity afterwards.
  • Integrated scoring
    By adding scores (percentage or 10-point scale) you give the most important parts of your audit more weight than other, less important parts.
  • Triggers & Alerts
    With triggers and alerts you can automatically share insights and points for improvement with the right people in the organization, so that they can be followed up immediately.
  • Real-time reports
    In the fast-paced world we live in, you can no longer get away with outdated data. Make sure your reports are always up to date with the latest data and based on the most recent version of standards and regulations and legislation.
  • Priorities overview
    As an organization, ensure that you have a clear and well-arranged overview of priorities per department, location or employee. This allows you to implement structural improvements at a strategic, operational and individual level.
  • Visually appealing reports
    Avoid boring tables and graphs. Activate quality awareness with visually appealing reports and infographics, so that it becomes manageable and comes to life in the organization.
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