Internal Audits

Reporting, best practices, non-compliance reporting


If 2nd or 3rd party performs full system audit on my QMS, can it be used as to satisfy requirement for Internal Audit of that year?


Thank you for sending your question to ASQ’s Ask The Experts program.

My first response to your question would simply be, no you cannot use a 2nd or 3rd party audit to satisfy the requirement for Internal Audits.

The thing to consider is, who will the final Audit Report go to? That is, who is the customer?  An Internal Audit is conducted to your QMS and to your criteria. The final report would generally be directed to senior management.

A second or third party audit is most often performed by a customer or by a registrar. They would be guided by different criteria. A customer audit would not be of your entire QMS or give evidence of its overall efficacy. It would be inspired by what would be pertinent to the product or service you provide to them. A registrar audit would be to verify your facility’s compliance to standards but not necessarily the entire QMS.

You can see how this would be leading down a path one wouldn’t want to follow.  Therefore, Internal Audits should remain . . . internal.

Bud Salsbury, CQT, CQI

For more on this topic, please visit ASQ’s website.

4 thoughts on “Internal Audits”

  1. I would like to offer a different opinion.

    If an external auditor is contracted to perform an internal audit (to your specific criteria) of the QMS, then I believe the requirements are met. Small companies typically do not have enough resources (people) or skills in auditing, for effective internal audits. And those responsible for the QMS should not be auditing themselves. Thus I believe using an external auditor improves the overall outcome.

    Jim Watkins
    Dir. Quality

    1. Jim, agreed. The word ‘contractor’ sums it up. The contractor would be using the requirements that you issue to them in order to perform the internal audit. This is a different situation than having a customer perform an audit to their requirements.
      Steve DeSmedt

  2. Good afternoon!I think the answer was perfect.Best Regards,​Adolpho Gobbi   ASQ # 486436

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