How to Write Technical Audit Reports

The most successful technical audit reports leave no doubt about their purpose. They clearly present the conclusions of an audit plan chartered to identify deficiencies in a company’s process or operation. Because deficiencies drive up costs and delay production, companies waste no time conducting audits that spot these shortcomings in manufacturing products or providing services. Typically, the findings of audit reports become plans for future action, such as adding steps to a process that improve an operation’s safety or efficiency.

Write a “Forward” that identifies the auditing company and its objectives. Discuss events that might have triggered the audit. For example, did a recent system failure alert management to design a backup plan for the packaging department?

Discuss the company under audit by explaining its mission and history. Focus on the subject of the audit, such as a company operation that needs improvement. For example, “This technical audit was requested to determine if Bradrick Remediation Company is cleaning up contaminated soil as mandated by new federal guidelines.”

State when the audit was performed and identify the physical setting. For example, “This audit was conducted November 29 through January 3 at the company’s New York City headquarters.”

Provide a list of abbreviations used throughout the report. Also, define key terms.

Call the next section “Executive Summary.” Tell readers how long the company has performed the subject operation. Discuss its success rate to date. Explain how a re-evaluation might improve the operation.

Move on to a section called “Audit Process.” Describe the audit team and its approach, and briefly summarize its work. For example, “The audit team was comprised of five scientists, four manufacturing inspectors and three technicians. The team focused on inspection procedures in the design and packaging departments. The team conducted 30 interviews and spent two months observing plant operations.”

Compare the current audit to prior audits. Note significant differences. For example, did this team use experts with different specialties and, if so, how did that impact the process?

Create a section for “Audit Findings.” Present positive and negative findings for each step of the operation. For example, “It was found that level one managers followed company procedures for logging training events but that level two and three managers often did not.”

Discuss negative findings in detail. Reference any company guidelines or government regulations being violated.

End with a section for “Conclusions.” Emphasize why the subject operation is significant to the company and industry. Summarize the audit’s negative findings first. Explain how the deficiencies noted at one level impact the entire procedure. Balance this summary by restating the positive findings.

Attach a page titled “Follow-Up Activities.” Write a list of terse statements identifying actions the company can take to remedy deficiencies.

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