Almost done: You have successfully completed your first remote audit. In this final part of our series of articles on remote audits, we provide some final tips on reporting and following up on a remote audit.

This is the final part of a seven-part article series on remote audits:

Reporting and follow-up are not significantly different for remote audits. This means that just as with an on-site audit, the auditor must write a report outlining key findings such as non-conformances, good practices, opportunities for improvement, etc.

Although it is of course possible to record web conferences to document the audit, this recording cannot replace the audit report. Audio or visual recordings should not be made without prior consent. It must also be specified in writing what is to be done with the recording after the audit (storage, distribution, security, deletion).

For documentation purposes, it is recommended to log the duration and participants of web conferences. This feature is included in most applications. The participants must agree to this.

Since conversations in web conferences can lead to misunderstandings, auditees should have the opportunity to review the audit report and confirm that the report reflects what happened during the audit.

Once the report is final, the auditor must confirm that he or she has deleted all confidential documents, images, recordings, etc., in accordance with previously agreed upon rules.

Let's end this series of articles with perhaps the most important tip of all: You will recall that we discussed in part two that a risk assessment must be done prior to the remote audit to ensure that a remote audit is sufficient for the purpose. After the audit, the decision to remotely audit must be evaluated. If there is any doubt about the effectiveness of the remote audit process, an on-site audit must be considered.

Dr. Thijs Willaert

Dr. Thijs Willaert is Head of Marketing & Communications for the Sustainability and Food Safety segments. He is also an auditor for the external audit of sustainability reports. His areas of interest include sustainability management, sustainable procurement, and the digitalization of the audit landscape.