Internal ISO 9001 audits are inspections in which your company evaluates itself to see if all ISO 9001 requirements are being followed. These internal audits are not only conducted when implementing ISO 9001 but also periodically after achieving ISO 9001 certification. All internal audits are performed by an employee of your company who has been trained in ISO 9001 auditing; alternatively, you could use a subcontractor. The job of the auditor is to verify that your company meets the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 as they are described in the procedures of your ISO 9001 Quality Management Manual.
Small businesses typically have the ISO 9001 Management Representative perform internal ISO 9001 audits. In this case, the Management Representative audits the entire company except for his/her own work, and another employee audits the work of the Management Representative. Our ISO 9001 Forms Collection (also included in the ISO 9001 Complete Package) contains an invaluable Audit Checklist that makes auditing easier.
Midsize companies often appoint and train several internal auditors. This is an excellent opportunity for cross-training and for staff of different departments to learn what other departments are doing.
We recommend that you start Step 4 even before Step 3 has been completed. Audits are an excellent way of training; they will help you implementing ISO 9001! Remember that you don't have to conduct your internal audit in one single event; instead, you can divide your internal audits into many smaller pieces. For example, you may only audit a single department or a single requirement at a time.
Once your entire company has been audited against all ISO 9001 requirements, and the internal auditor didn't uncover any significant problems, your company will be ready for the ISO 9001:2015 certification audit.