Auditing Outsourced Services Effectively
One way to conduct effective auditing of an organizations outsourced services could be to use an external consultant as it can give immediate access to highly competent and experienced resources.
When it comes to the selection process of the supplier you wish to outsource some services to, it must be clearly defined in a standard functional way that takes account of the requirements regarding potential provider’s evaluation and the selection parameters. The selection parameters can consist of a quality standard accreditation, market reputation, previous experience, and even whereabouts.
It is important to organize an introductory meeting with the supplier before the auditing stage in order to find the involved parties and establishing the audit scope and criteria. Likewise, it is of paramount value that you understand the relationship which means you must know exactly what the supplier will be doing on our behalf. It includes data accessibility, system accessibility, and data collection on the behalf of organization and anything that might affect business entity, brand image and its customers. It can be very helpful if you set the expectations before auditing outsourced services at the potential supplier commences.
It must be kept in mind that it is a risky assumption the external party has spread the terms of contract across different subcontractors. So it must be assured that their responsibility is understood clearly and this can be confirmed through reviews and on-site inspections or audits.
Furthermore, if the inspection is divided into two stages, than it can be quite handy in the auditing program.
The first stage is an assessment of the current quality system that also comprise of documents related to specific processes. The second stage is the on-site examination for authorizing the operational level agreement with the methods and procedures defined in the documents of the company. For the first stage it holds vital value that the assessed documents must consist of the standard operating procedures, quality manual, records of training, records of equipment, terms of manufacturing, and any significant record like later inquiries.
Usually, during the quality documents evaluation a choice can be made regarding those things that need to be examined. More to the point, by having a basic understanding about business procedures the chances of a dedicated audit program increases. The on-site assessment is supposed to happen while service provider representatives are there. It is important to make sure that each and every required safety and preventive measures are in place and followed. Any findings must be stated as they come across while auditing outsourced services. The plus point of this step is that we get to know the feedback from the representatives of the potential supplier and ensure any sort of confusions or misunderstanding between the auditor and the organization being audited is eliminated.
Importance of Communication While Auditing Outsourced Services
Effective and efficient communication process plays a considerable role during an effective audit program. We cannot expect an uncomplicated and trouble free service delivery in the absence of clear communication guidelines in this kind of a working relationship. Moreover, while auditing outsourced services the overall approach and outlook of both parties can decidedly influence an audit program’s successful outcomes and the conclusive outsourcing link.
When the audit program reaches its final stages a close-out meeting must be organized between the organization key personnel and the auditor. During that meeting important notes can be exchanged so both parties can talk over key points and those discussions can be reported accordingly. In this way we can have the opportunity of reviewing the procedure of audit assessment. It will save us from the unexpected surprises as all concerns will be mentioned and discussed in advance between both parties. During the final stage, the auditor will be in a position to declare the result of the audit program. The management of the organization being audited gets the chance of stating its feedback in response to that. However, this response must be restricted to explanation and approval about any opinions that may need corrective measures.
If you need support with auditing outsourced services or looking for assistance with supplier audits in general, then feel free to contact us and see how we can support.