A quality audit report should include enough detail so that the client or the audit report users can understand what was done, why it was done, and whether it achieved the objective. The report should also provide sufficient information for the organization being audited (auditee) to correct any problems identified.
What Should Be in an Audit Report?
An audit report should be written with these three goals in mind:
• To identify and prioritize areas for improvement within the scope of the audit
• To communicate those findings clearly and succinctly
• To elicit action from the organization being audited
The following elements are common to most quality audits:
Executive Summary – A concise statement summarizing the key points of the audit. It is usually written at the beginning of the report and provides context for the rest of the report.
Scope and Objective – Describes which aspects of the organization's operations were examined, and why this audit is being conducted. This section provides a context for the report.
Methodology – Describes how the audit was conducted. Auditors use this section to explain their approach to gathering data and performing analysis.
Results – Provides details on the observations made by the auditor.
Recommendation(s) – An action plan that summarizes recommendations for improving the organization's processes.
Conclusion - This section highlights critical takeaways.
The following sections are optional but may help you organize your report better and make more sense to readers:
• Prioritization section that identifies the most critical issues and potential areas for improvement
• Recommendation section that explains how the organization can address the issue(s) found in the audit
• References section that lists sources used in preparing the report
Tips for Writing an Effective Executive Summary
Executive summaries are one of the first things a reader sees when they open your report. They summarize the key points of the report. To write an effective executive summary, consider the following tips:
• Write an executive summary that is no longer than one page long. This will allow the reader to quickly scan the document and get the gist of its contents. A shorter length also allows the writer to focus on the key points without getting bogged down by unnecessary details.
• Include only the most essential information in the executive summary. If there's too much content, the reader might lose interest before reading through all of it.
• Auditors typically find flaws because they want to see improvements made. However, if you focus on the negatives, you could discourage the organization from making changes. Instead, emphasize the positive aspects of the audit.
• Make sure the executive summary has a clear call to action. What do you want the organization to do after reading the report?
• Keep the executive summary simple and easy to read. Avoid using jargon or technical language that would intimidate the average person.