From “unprecedented times” to a “new normal”, we are all accustomed to the phrases being used to describe the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. But life has gone on, just as business has to a certain extent. Your business may have continued trading, just in a different way to how you would normally do things. Doesn’t this make it the perfect time for an internal audit?
At Synergos Consultancy, we too have been operating differently. Working from home with very rare trips into the office, we have kept the team links strong with Teams meetings, email and phone chat. For our clients, we have also relied far more heavily on technology than we normally would, to continue offering our services.
We have completed several internal audits via Zoom and other platforms. Standards have not fallen and there is nothing temporary or ‘make-do’ about virtual audits. Many of our clients took this vital step of an internal audit for many reasons.
Lockdown – not an excuse to abandon processes and systems
During the recent crisis, we have relied on our staff teams to meet the challenges with tenacity and competence. You have worked hard to put processes in place to ensure quality, for example, or to safeguard data and information – lockdown was not the time to abandon these.
But it did present risks and it is for this reason that many businesses and organisations performed an internal audit. What are the risks and challenges to your business in the shape of:
- Ensuring information security and data protection?
- Suitability of staff working from home in terms of equipment and also health and safety issues?
- Managing stress when working from home?
- How complaints and enquiries are being handled?
- Returning to work protocols?
- Remaining compliant with ISOs and other accreditations?
What is the process of an online or virtual audit?
There are many reasons as to why now is not the right time to plunge headlong into an audit. It can seem like sheer folly that with reduce staff, employees working from home, furloughed staff kicking their heels and redundancies not far from your mind to take the plunge with an internal audit.
But with the changes and challenges facing your business, an audit can give you the overview you need to see just how well your business and people are coping but also, its adaptability and agility in the face of change.
Very much like onsite audits, common to the most popular ISO standards and accreditation processes, a virtual audit should have;
- A clearly defined scope, for example, measuring response to the pandemic and lockdown
- A detailed audit plan
- How you’ll interview and include the necessary people
- How findings will be reported back and used
Focussing on scope and not limitations
Undoubtedly, there have been challenges for businesses in recent weeks and these will change several times in the coming months as the country and economy recover. But rather than seeing the limitations, why not see the scope of your business with an internal audit? We could help you get clarity on how your business is operating, so you can move forward with confidence.