Audits are a necessary part of any business, especially those that operate to tight regulations and standards. Whether conducted in-house or by visiting auditors, audits take up considerable amounts of time and require a lot of paperwork. At least, that’s how it used to be - software changes everything, and the benefits of using audit software is undeniable.
Internal audit technology is proven to slash the time it takes to do an audit, eliminating the need for paper records so that an audit can be completed in hours instead of weeks. When you know the auditor is coming in, it's easy to have everything in one place in preparation – without the need to go through large piles of paperwork. But the benefits don't end there.
Ideagen customers currently use internal audit software. We spoke to each of them to find out what drove them to implement the software throughout their businesses and what the benefits of audit software are. Five clear points came up time and again.
1) Reduce the duplication of effort
Every auditor has experienced the frustration of carrying out an audit on site, filling out reams of paperwork, then having to return to the office to type up their notes. It's an unnecessary duplication of effort and adds no value to the audit process.
Audits involve a lot of preparation. It means finding the right paperwork and making checks beforehand to reduce the risk of non-conformities arising.
It wastes so much time!
Using audit software means you can have information ready at the click of a button. Customisable reports make it easy to display data visually, if you need to. There's no more paperwork. It means preparing for an audit is much quicker as non-conformances are quickly highlighted and can be addressed in good time.
With Pentana Audit, you can gather evidence and answer questionnaires on the spot. The software allows you to download the audit, work offline for the duration of it and attach relevant data as you gather it. When you’re finished, you can then upload it as a completed audit once you have a wifi connection. There's no duplication of effort, saving you hours or even days for every audit you carry out.
2) Improve the accuracy of data captured during an audit
Paper audits are not only time-consuming but restrict you to writing notes or completing a checklist without being able to provide accompanying evidence. In addition, there's significant scope for human error and bias, as a description of a non-conformance can be as detailed (or as vague) as you choose.
Audit management software means you can capture evidence in real time and attach any type of common file, including videos, photos and sound recordings.
The advantage of being able to attach evidence is that non-conformances can be viewed the same way by everyone –there's no need for interpretation. This process also eliminates the need to make lengthy notes to describe an issue, once more saving considerable amounts of time.
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3) Gather more information during every audit
Chances are you've faced an audit and found yourself pushed for time, as you work to make sure your business is compliant and gather the relevant paperwork. Because of this rushing around, you're more likely to make mistakes and have your attention diverted away from your core duties. A missed file or unclear paper trail takes up more of the auditor's time and risks them having to hurry the rest of their audit.
The time limits imposed upon an auditor mean information can be missed or incomplete, especially if a problem occurs to delay access to vital details. This means non-conformances may be missed, which in turn could turn into larger and more costly business risks.
Because Pentana Audit removes the need to do audits on paper, auditors have more time to analyse the organisation in detail and deliver a much broader and comprehensive review of operations. Instead of rifling through paper checklists and writing up notes, they can take photos, record voice notes and video clips, and take the time to get into those granular details that are often overlooked.
4) Eliminate ambiguity in audit reports
What one person says is a major non-conformance, another may describe as minor – and it's difficult to prove when the only evidence that exists is a few pages of the auditor's hand-written notes.
Audit management software takes away the confusion and ambiguity by making sure evidence is gathered and attached to an audit on site there and then.
And reports are no longer affected by bias – it's all there in black and white (and colour, if multimedia evidence is attached!) when you come to review the audit.
5) Demonstrate compliance throughout the audit trail
Working from paper trails makes compliance difficult to prove – one missing file and you risk non-conformances or failing the audit completely. When your business must comply to regulations and standards, downtime to correct issues can be very costly.
Pentana Audit allows you to easily plan and schedule regular internal audits, with automated workflows triggered when a finding is raised. This makes it very easy for you to demonstrate your commitment to regulations and other quality standards, delivering a full and comprehensive audit trail for anyone investigating your compliance.
What you should do now
The benefits of using audit software are clear. If your organisation performs regular audits, you're guaranteed to experience significant time savings with audit management software. Learn how to choose the best internal audit software for your organisation's needs.
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