How to develop an Audit Tool

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How to develop an Audit Tool

A well planned audit tool can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful inspection or audit. The inspection or audit tool also becomes an important piece of objective evidence to support that the inspection or audit was actually undertaken. Please keep in mind that an audit tool is different to the audit report.

Design considerations for your audit tool

When designing your inspection tool or audit tool, there are three main considerations:

  • The tool should be well formatted and include sufficient spacing, layout and font size.
  • All aspects of the inspection or audit criteria that you have referenced or checking against, have been covered.
  • There is adequate space to record all evidence collected during the inspection and audit including what you saw (observations), what records you reviewed and who you spoke with and their response.

Checklists  Audit Checklist

The most common audit tool used is in the form of a checklist. However, a checklist should not be a list of questions to be answered during the compliance audit or inspection. It should be seen as a prompt as to the areas that require review during the audit or inspection.

How to put together a audit or inspection checklist

  • Get a copy of the rules or law to which you will be determining compliance.
  • Highlight the areas that are mandatory. These will include activities with words like “SHALL”, “WILL”, “MUST”. From a legal perspective, these are the areas that are legally enforceable. If the words say “should” or “advisable” – these are really optional for the business.
  • Summarise all of the SHALL-WILL-MUST requirements into questions. Try and avoid writing long winded questions.
  • Convert these questions into prompts.
  • Format your prompts into your checklist.
  • Identify the exact clause number associated which each prompt. This will make it easier when you have to write your non-conformances.

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This post has been reproduced from HACCP Mentor and was first published on April 19, 2012.
By | 2017-05-07T10:43:06+00:00 November 4th, 2014|Comments Off on How to develop an Audit Tool

About the Author:

Amanda is a Food Safety consultant and Compliance Specialist with more than 18 years experience working with Australian and international food businesses. Amanda works as a contract trainer and food compliance auditor and continues a close relationship with the food industry through her business consultancy services. Amanda manages the successful website "HACCP Mentor" which aims to help you and your food business comply with food safety, HACCP and food quality compliance. To find out more about Amanda, please visit or