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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Auditing for Management Systems

Auditing for management systems


ACCORDING to a survey carried out by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) secretariat, India is one of the top 10 countries with over 40,000 companies certified to various ISO standards. The international standards developed by ISO offers Indian companies practical solutions because they represent a reservoir of technological know-how of product,performance,quality, safety and environmental specifications. These standards have the advantage of being backed by an international consensus on the state of the art technologies.


   Companies that are committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR) conduct social accountability and environmental compliance audits to validate the transparency, consistency and integrity of their supply chain. The objective of social accountability audits/monitoring (including code of conduct, human rights, ethical, environmental and health requirements) is to ensure that the suppliers and vendors abide with the company's commitment to CSR. Multinational retailers employ secondparty auditors or contract an independent third party agency to conduct these audits. 


The Indian economy experienced a GDP growth of 9% during 2005-06 to 9.4% during 2006-07. By 2025, India's economy is projected to be about 60% the size of the US economy. This tremendous growth in the Indian economy will be fuelled by the industrial and the services sector. It is estimated that by 2020, every organisation in India that is exporting products or services will be certified or audited to an international, industry or customer standard. ISO certifications have emerged as an important currency of global trade and instrument of economic growth. International standards, conformity assessment systems and code of conduct audits support in improving efficiency of production and facilitating international trade.


   The first generation of economic reforms in India in the 1990s was also the harbinger of management systems in Indian industries. Globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation have tremendous implications for management systems. Export-oriented units and MNCs have strived to blend India's competitive edge with management systems tools and techniques.The adoption of a management system is a strategic decision of any organisation. Management systems play a determining role in increasing productivity, providing quality products and services, ensuring customer satisfaction, upgrading technology and skills of employees among others. The design and implementation of an organisation's management system is influenced by varying needs, objectives, products, processes, size and structure of the organisation. 


Auditing helps to generate immense knowledge, communication and leadership abilities.There are several career options for those who have the right aptitude and skills to be successful auditors. 
   Engineers should attend an International Register of Certified Auditor (IRCA) course for Management System Certification (ISO 9001, 14001, OHSAS 18001, SA 8000, HACCP) conducted in all major cities by certification bodies such as Det Norske Veritas, (DNV), Bureau Veritas Quality International (BVQI) and the British Standards Institute (BSI). Details are available on  and  
   Environmentalists may attend the advanced environmental management system auditing course approved by the Institute of Environmental Management Assessment (IEMA website at ) or IRCA, and may contact some of the above organisations. 
   Energy auditors need to pass the examination conducted by Bureau of Energy Efficiency. For details one can refer to 
   An auditor is an independent person authorised to evaluate the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled.


   The scope and scale of audits may be different, but some skills and traits are common for all successful auditors: 

• The visionary: 

The auditor inspires the auditee with a vision, and by setting benchmarks.The auditor can see the holistic view, the interdependence of various functions in an organisation, and the linkages of various processes. 

• The lady/gentleman: 

The audit is a formal assessment of an organisation, and requires dignity in speech and action. Every auditing organisation has a dress code for its auditors. Audit timings should also have formal office hour durations. 

• The teacher: 

Experience is important in the auditing profession to command respect from the auditee. Credibility and faith in the judgment of the auditor transforms an auditor-auditee relation to a holistic guru-shishya relationship. Auditors should be convinced that their profession is a noble one, and the purpose is to make a difference. 

• The technocrat: 

Auditors possess sound technical knowledge. They are required to be wiser than the auditee, else they may face embarrassment. Auditors should be prepared to face challenges from the auditee on any finding, and should be in a position to defend it with knowledge and illustrations. 
• The team player:Auditing is usually considered a lonely profession, much like marathon running. A good audit team can carry out complex audits by tracing the audit trail through a maze of byzantine processes and procedures, documents, records and interviews. 
• The people manager: An auditor needs interviewing and reporting skills to make an impact. It requires optimal tact and firmness in communicating to the auditee about the audit findings.The auditor always controls the situation and maintains a sense of humour. 


Audits are important in all professions to determine the extent to which organisational requirements are fulfilled. Audits involve creative interpretation of facts and figures. It needs imagination and initiative to identify and develop audit issues. It is an intellectual pursuit that helps to understand existing realities.


   Indian auditors are in demand globally for their technological and communication skills, adaptability, and integrity. Management system professionals can work in international certification bodies and accreditation bodies.Management representatives are the highest paid in the industry and they are responsible to maintain and improve the Certified Management Systems.


   Some of the brightest professionals have turned entrepreneurs. Opportunities also exist with multinational retailers for compliance auditors to conduct CSR and code of conduct audits. Auditing is an immensely satisfying profession because it is lucrative, creative and challenging.




Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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