Things to Avoid When Writing the Audit Report

Auditing is about the evaluation of systems and frameworks. It is not an inspection! It is a health check which could indicate areas for improvement. Auditors have to assess the health of an organisation against specified criteria. As a result of this process, It is common to find some nonconformities.

Audit nonconformities are likely to be linked to responsible individuals. However, the audit intends to evaluate the effectiveness of the systems and not the individuals. Hence, the auditor must avoid the following when writing their report:

  1. Avoid naming staff in your report! At the same time, be specific about the findings. Write down what went wrong and support your findings with evidence. It is acceptable to write the department’s name or location linked to the audit finding.
  2. The auditors are auditing systems, frameworks and functions. It is part of any live system to have some weaknesses and areas for improvement. Therefore, the auditor's personal opinions, judgments, and thoughts should not be expressed during the audit. Try to avoid subjective terms such as “unfortunately”, “inappropriately”, “unsuitability” or “incorrectly” when writing the audit report. Remember, the evidence you use as proof must be objective, measurable, and tangible.
  3. It is not the role of the auditor to comment, guess or judge the root cause of a gap in the system. Often the source of the gap is complex and multifaceted.  
  4. The auditors must leave the corrective actions to the auditee. Finding the root cause or developing an action plan is not part of the auditor’s job. An exception to this point may be when conducting internal audits, where the point of auditing is to find gaps and fix them before external audits.


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