Examples of good internal audits: Have you ever asked yourself what could actually be tempting and appealing about an internal audit from the point of view of those involved in the audit? Would your audit partners in the company take notice if the audit result contributed to the implementation of target agreements, work facilitation, risk minimization and personal success? Is there a world beyond conformity to regulations? We show you where the journey in internal audits could go.


Rethinking starts, for example, with the question of how internal auditors announce your audit program. What opportunities are there for you as an auditor to create a positive expectation for the audit? One idea: use good results and changes with impact in processes from last year's internal audits as an opportunity to introduce current audit planning and preparation discussions with employees. Use your audit report as a calling card - even to senior management!

You can never solve problems with the same mindset that created them.

Albert Einstein Physicist

Examples of internal audits: 3 tips on how things can be done differently...

  • TOP/FLOP: Forget the classic approach of "random sampling". Pick - together with the auditees - an excellent example (TOP) and afterwards (!) an example where everything really goes wrong (FLOP). The examples serve to identify opportunities and events/procedures that should be repeated or that need to be avoided.
  • Back to front auditing: We flip the traditional approach of auditing company processes from "front to back." That is, not:
    Top management ► QM system ► Sales ► Development ► Production ► Supporting processes ► Delivery.
    We do start with Top Management, but only with strategy and goals - and then start the audit in Delivery / Shipping and audit our way "forward". We conclude the audit with the quality management system and the evaluation of the system by top management. The effect: You audit a concrete example that has actually gone through all processes and arrive at better insights into the process interfaces.
  • Substitute audit: Why not focus an audit consistently on the "2nd row" in a company? Effect: Risk minimization, avoidance of audit routines (otherwise it is always the same interview partners), involve more employees, new perspectives, different insights.

Internal audits: ISO 19011 provides strong impetus

One set of rules that should by no means be left out in connection with internal audits is ISO 19011, the guide to auditing management systems in the still fairly fresh revised version of 2018.

ISO 19011:2018-10 - Guidelines for auditing management systems. The standard is available from the ISOwebsite.

With the revision, ISO 19011 has received well thought-out improvements. The result: certainly not a fundamentally new version, but one that has been substantially enhanced. Importantly, ISO 19011:2018 can be used for all management systems and their processes - even in combination with various standards, starting with quality management according to ISO 9001 and continuing with ISO 14001 and ISO 27001 or ISO 50001.

Does ISO 19011 provide incentives to audit internally in a different way? Absolutely: The strategic reference is at the forefront of the regulations - and thus also the incentive to formulate clear audit objectives in order to further increase the audit benefit. Audits should be more than compliance checks; they should focus on potential for improvement and question best practices. In practice, this is by no means already a given. The revised guideline can therefore be used to best effect as a source of inspiration for audit processes, for methods and for the necessary audit competence. And this also applies to audits in connection with certification.

DQS: Simply leveraging Quality.

Since its foundation in 1985 as the first German certifier of management systems, DQS has been committed to the sustainable success of its customers. With value-adding audits and customer-oriented concepts, we accompany organizations all the way to business excellence.

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We look forward to hearing from you

In addition to the assessment according to individual management system standards, the combined, simultaneous auditing of fully integrated management systems offers you numerous opportunities. Through the cross-thematic assessment, synergies are used and at the same time interactions, but also contradictions between the different subject areas are recognized.

In connection with ISO 19011, we also offer second-party audits as a service for selected subject areas, for example as supplier audits.

In order to increase the benefit for our customers, we focus on their multiple qualifications when selecting and training our auditors: DQS auditors cover at least three sets of rules on average. Take us at our word. We look forward to talking to you.

Matthias Vogel

Seit 2010 ist Matthias Vogel Pressesprecher der DQS GmbH und verantwortlich für die Fachpresse. Als Senior Content Manager ist er mitverantwortlich für die Themenfindung des DQS Blogs „DQS im Dialog“, für die Abstimmung mit Autor*innen und für die Textredaktion. Matthias Vogel ist Herausgeber des regelmäßig erscheinenden DQS–Newsletters „DQS Update“ und versorgt Sie so mit Informationen und Wissensangeboten rund um Audits und Zertifizierung. Außerdem ist er Programmleiter und Moderator der DQS-Kundentage und moderiert als Co-Moderator die virtuellen Konferenzen "Digital Quality Space".