What are operational Audits and what role do they play in your organisation?

There are generally 2 types of audits the compliance audits which are often reactive and after the event.  The operational audit are pro-active and consider both compliance and criticality of the situation.

The compliance audits that should be applied and in some organisations this comes under the “financial” audit – these are general “pass” or “fail”.  These are a requirement for generally the financial related control of the organisation/business.  However the critical audits from a management of the operations perspective are the audits that  include both manager and employees in conducting and analysing the results and referred to as operational audits – some accounting firms object to this name so you may find them referred to as Operational Inspections.

The operational audits are the proactive audits that provides the assurance that the organisation is doing what it says it should be doing.  If there is no documentation on what “should be” then it is difficult to audit.  A good organisation will have a Monitoring and Controlling framework and is like a tripod – “stable and can carry a good load”: a) Policy and Procedure framework, b) Service Level standards (Internal and External) and c) Operational audits.  These audits consider both the compliance and the criticality.  They probably exist in some form for say H&S and maintenance.

This should not only be for HR but across the organisation – a good Monitoring and Controlling framework will support a performance management system that empowers the employees and ensures an efficient organisation. If we find that there is no real P&P framework or what we have is a mix of P&P then the Service Level Standards (SLS’s) or Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) can be a good first step in  developing the procedure.  Use the checklist type format of the SLS and when time permits put the words around it to make it a proper procedure.

As with any process you need to ensure that the employees are competent and can deliver.

Get your tripod of monitoring and controlling right and you will find you have a more stable and sound organisation – operational audits close the loop in this monitoring and controlling framework and one that really empowers the employees.

Max Underhill

Managing Director

Maxumise Consulting Pty Ltd