Managing your audit program is a challenge faced by many Life Sciences companies and those professionals directly responsible for maintaining an organization’s auditing processes. Regardless of whether you have a manual process or an audit management software, there's nothing more important than having your audit data up-to-date and easily accessible. This will ensure not only the quality of the audits being performed and audit reports being written, but also the timeliness of responses needed to rectify deficiencies found during the audit process. Fortunately, a sound audit management software doesn't have to be difficult, but it does require planning, organization, and a dedicated, consistent process.
Last month, I presented at the Sparta Connection 2017 Conference where I shared a novel approach to writing audit reports. The approach leverages templates for audit report writing and utilizes intelligent automation to distribute them via a highly regarded audit management software.
Below are key takeaways and recommendations from the presentation:
How to Create Audit Templates in Your Audit Management System:
- Utilize audit templates with boiler plate text and standard information to serve as a baseline for a company's audit agendas and audit reports.
- Allow for the flexibility to add, update and delete information specific to the audit being conducted.
- Audit templates make it easier to edit sections and subsections of the reports in the future. This may prevent the burdensome process for software code changes, testing and documentation if and when you decide to change the data or structure within the audit reports.
- Too often, companies use a paper process that involves an inordinate amount of templates for multiple audit types. Aim to synthesize audit types as much as possible by combining the templates into a few overarching types.
- Empower auditors to pick or select the appropriate template and edit or update the information based on the specific audit being performed.
Use Intelligent Automation when Distributing Your Audit Reports:
- Audit distribution lists can be extensive and complex, so create a solution that allows the entire audit team to manage it, and make it both visible and accessible to all members (e.g., Lead Auditors, Co-Auditors, Assistants, Audit Coordinators).
- Automate the generation of the final audit report directly from your audit management system’s record detail.
- Automate the distribution of the audit reports and agendas directly through your audit management software based on workflow automation.
- Ensure that you are accounting for both an internal and external distribution list and that the differing reports are sent to internal vs. external recipients.
- Create a mechanism for versioning and re-issuing of audit reports when necessary.
- Allow for the addition of audit report recipients after the initial report has been issued in the software, and allow any one-off distributions to be managed as well.
If your company uses an audit management software platform and is looking for tools to help keep content, audit reports, and distribution on track, consider a solution that provides process efficiency and intelligent automation such as those highlighted at this year's Sparta Connection Conference by Process Stream.