Writing Audit Findings: Be Reasonable


Girvin, Nancy W.   (1992, ASQC)   Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352

Annual Quality Congress, Nashville TN    Vol. 46    No. 0
QICID: 9906    May 1992    pp. 855-862
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Article Abstract

Auditors can improve relations with their auditees by following simple communications techniques when presenting their findings.

Don't just generate long "laundry lists" of audit findings. The auditee may see the auditor as a source of criticism who has no stake in solving the problems reported. Some preprocessing on the lists to group and prioritize the items makes auditees more receptive. For instance, use a "root cause" approach to group together items having a common cause and present several instances as one audit item. This reduces the overall length of the list. Furthermore, prioritize findings and give the auditee some idea of the relative importance of each.Cite references carefully. One inaccurate citation casts doubt on all the others. Watch the tone of both written and verbal communication. Avoid judgmental or scolding tones. Avoid verbose, convoluted, legal-sounding phrases.

With the techniques described here, auditors can move the auditee's perception of them from critic and adversary more towards teacher and ally.


Audits,Common causes,Root cause analysis (RCA)

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