A layered process audit is a function certain companies follow to ensure their operations follow specific standards. These audits may be more internal than external, unless outside business stakeholders require information relating to the company’s ability to consistently follow specific business tasks or activities. Layered audits may not fall under the responsibility of the company’s accounting department, since these individuals may not have enough experience for this process. An operational manager or quality control engineer can usually conduct this type of audit.
Auditors will typically review the configuration of various machines the company uses to complete manufacturing or production processes. This allows auditors to ensure each piece of equipment is in an acceptable working order and will not cause undue harm to employees. Auditors can review gauges, the calibration measurements or run a series of other direct tests that provide information on how well the equipment operates under normal conditions.
Many organizations require employees to fill out documentation of their activities in the working environment. Auditors review these forms to see which employees are filling out paperwork and the times or dates of the paperwork. This holds employees accountable for their actions, especially operational managers who must uphold the company’s safety or standard operating procedures. While it can be difficult to determine if the paperwork is fraudulent, combining this process with employee interviews can help in the review of this information.
Observations allow auditors to observe employees completing specific tasks in the company’s work environment. Auditors can best use this process by showing up unannounced and conducting an observational review of the company’s operations. This allows auditors to avoid managers and employees who will operate under the company’s procedures for the planned audit day. Auditors need a true and unfiltered audit observation to ensure that employees properly fill out paperwork and follow all operational standards.