AQA's play an important role in the NDIS. People and service providers applying to the Commission to become a registered NDIS provider must first be assessed by an Approved Quality Auditor. This is to ensure they are meeting the applicable standards and other requirements prescribed by the NDIS Practice Standards.
The NDIS Audits must be conducted by an independent body or company. In NDIS terms, these Certification Bodies are called "Approved Quality Auditor" or AQA.
Although some may think that being audited is daunting and unnecessary, there are many benefits in being audited other than obtaining the certificate. Below are some of the not so obvious benefits of AQAs.
Guarantee to stakeholders
One of the most important reasons for being audited externally is to give a guarantee to stakeholders such as customers, consumers, investors, board members, regulators and etc to validate your declaration on compliance to specific schemes such as NDIS Quality Indicators Guidelines 2018 or ISO 9001:2015 Standard.
Validate the effectiveness of the internal audit
As an organisation, you will get the opportunity to validate the effectiveness of your internal audit process. You would expect to discover the audit gaps whilst you do an internal audit. The external audit outcome is an effective method to validate such a process. The expectation from the internal audit is to identify gaps if there are any, and the external audit verifies how effective the internal audit process is being implemented.
External audits are completely impartial. The external auditors have no previous relationship with the auditee or the provider. This allows the auditor to perform an audit without politics or fear of any consequences in the workplace. During the internal audit, you may not feel comfortable to give your colleague a major or minor nonconformity due to the fact of working together for years. This is not relevant for an Approved Quality Auditor.
Part of the team to achieve goals
External auditors are somehow part of the organisation’s team. The intent is to look for potential opportunities and identify any risks in order to keep the organisation compliant with the audited scheme.
The external auditor has fresh eyes and may find something that has previously gone unnoticed. The people within your organisation may develop System Fatigue as they are normally busy with day to day matters. it is an advantage to have fresh eyes to validate how effectively the organisation's systems are working.
Discover trends and repeat failures
In some cases if there is a downward trend or repeat-failure. If gone unnoticed, it can be more easily identified by an approved quality auditor.
External auditors are focused solely on the audit. Normally the Internal auditors have other job duties and responsibilities within the organisation whereas the scope of an external auditor is to focus on the audit to conduct it in the most effective and professional way.
The Scope and focus will be the Audit
External auditors are focused solely on the audit. Normally, internal auditors have other jobs, duties and responsibilities within the organisation, whereas the scope of an external auditor is to focus entirely on the audit and conduct it in the most effective and professional way.
Engaging with the audit process seems to be stressful for most of us. It can be seen by business owners or employees as a planned process to find their faults. It is crucial to understand the role of the Approved Quality Auditors for the greater good of the organisation. It is also important to improve your knowledge and understanding pf the purpose of the audit process. While audits can find system errors, they should be seen in a positive light as one of many methods used to improve business operation and efficiency, and hence, increased profitability. Think of it as a business check. The intent of the audit is not to find fault.
Key to understanding the audit process and taking the stress out of it is to learn more about the role that auditors have. We recommend you conduct internal audits within your organisation as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of the benefits audits provide for your business. You can learn more about internal audits through our easy to follow online course. Acting as an internal auditor creates a much greater understanding of your business strengths and weaknesses on a smaller scale and is great preparation for a bigger, external audit, when the time comes. The more you and your employees learn about the process and the benefits it brings, the less stressful for everyone and the audit phobia will disappear over time.
LMS TRG is an Exemplar Global Recognised Training Provider for courses in Management Systems Auditing. We come together from various specialist backgrounds to produce unique online learning experiences. Our team is composed of auditors, management systems consultants and providers, with over fifteen years of experience in delivering high-level quality training. We were founded with the policy of being pioneers in fully online and smart training solutions. To learn more click here.
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