Audit, either internal audit or external audit is just like the way of doing assignment; it will require you to collect information and report to the top management or your boss. Often, inexperienced auditors are not familiar in asking the right kind of questions.
As a result, they are having problem to report their finding at the end of the audit session.
Today, we will be teaching you some secret tips and techniques on:
1) The right way to get along well with your audit questioning
2) What kind of questions to ask your auditees?
3) Which of your questions are effective?
First, as an auditor, you should do a research to find out all about the tasks of your auditees, what their job entails and their responsibilities. Try to make friends with them, make sure they are not feeling that they’re under your audit. As you get the right way to ask those correct questions, you will slowly feel that they are telling you the truth.
Once you’re able to get along well with your auditees, you can perform a checklist regarding the area that you are going to audit. The idea to start a simple audit checklist is so easy when you apply the real tools of auditing by using the questions such as What, Why, How, Who, When, and Where. These are the major keys to your auditees and are the foundation of your ‘open questions’.
And what are ‘open questions’? An auditor’s job is to collect information from auditees. In order to do that, auditor needs the right skills to ask the effective questions to make sure that your auditees can give a lot of information. ‘Open questions’ are the questions that can keep your auditees talking. At that moment, you are a good listeners and note taker. Show them your interests by guiding them in what they are saying, but don’t have the intention to take over their story or conversation. Try to avoid asking questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers which we are referred to ‘closed questions’ here, except you already know what to look for.
Examples of ‘Open Questions’:
- What do you do with that issue note?
- How do you find your customer’s satisfactions?
- Why do you use this set of machine?
- Who has approved this letter of offer?
- When has the implementation of this system started?
- Where are the obsolete documents stored?
- Tell me your daily role in making the machine run smoothly (can be an example of great open question too)
Examples of ‘Closed Questions’:
- Is this software the latest version?
- Have you completed the application form?
- Did you use this method before the implementation of the new system?
So, how can I know when to use ‘open questions’ and ‘closed questions’?
- ‘Opens questions’ are used when you are searching and probing for the unknown to change to existing processes or failures/ successes. Maybe you are looking for new practices; you can apply to it by using some ‘open questions’.
- Try to use ‘closed questions’ only when you want to check for the expected facts or some of the information you may already know to double confirm. Use them in a stage where a procedure has already completed or is in compliance with standard.
Before we come to the end, please note that the top level of managements may do the following order when they found that the audit results aren’t complete. Sometimes, auditors are required to ask some questions that those auditees might not be able to answer on the spot. And what to do?
Well, auditees will usually make honest mistakes. Just treat all auditees without any air of suspicions but with a degree of enthusiasm. Say, “Show Me!”.
Also, when auditors find that auditees failed to present the evidence’s statements, auditors should never say “GOTCHA”, but must be prepared to request them from auditees.