Quality Auditing Training – The Different Types of Audits

While by no means is this list exhaustive of all types of audit, the ones listed here are the common audit types utilized within the Quality Auditing qualification.

Process Audit

Process Audit is used to review, evaluate and process, to confirm its effectiveness and/or compliance with documented procedures. This type of audit is commonly an internal (or first party) audit. An auditor doesn’t necessarily require the knowledge on standards or regulations, as it is normally assessed against internal documents.

Often, particularly within the automotive manufacturers, a customer may conduct this type of audit within a supplier, where the customer may want to evaluate the effectiveness of the production process of a particular component.

Management System Audit

Also known as System, Compliance or Gap Analysis audit, this type of audit is conducted within a broader scope to that of a process audit, whereby an audit is carried out to assess an organisation’s (or part thereof) compliance with a standard or regulation. Usually these audits are conducted by a customer or an independent body.  However, organisations often conduct these audits internally to ascertain the effectiveness of the organisations systems for the purpose of identifying problems and/or improvement opportunities.

Document Review

Document Review is typically a desk top assessment of documentation of an organization (or part thereof). If conducted internally, the purpose is to determine whether the documentation, procedures and work instructions meet the needs of the business.

If conducted by an independent body (third party audit), it is the first step of a certification assessment process. The independent body (usually a Certification Agency) carries out this review to assess whether the organization documentation meets the requirements of the standard. Thus, the review provides a basis for the third party auditor to prepare an audit plan and checklist to carry out the proceeding steps of the certification assessment or audit.

Product or Service Audit

Product or Service Audit is usually called an Inspection. This type of audit is usually conducted to check specific parameters of a product or service to ensure that it meets the pre-determined requirements.  This is usually conducted by employees or customers of the organization producing the product/delivering the service.

Two examples of these may be:

  • Quality Control Inspector visually inspecting the product to verify that the item physically meets the specification; or
  • A hotel receptionist asking brief questions of guests checking out regarding their satisfaction.

Typically the results of the information extracted from these types of audits are utilized to improve processes within an organization.


An assessment can be any one of the internal or external types of audits where the auditee may be seeking an award of some description.  In other words, the organization anticipates that the findings of the audit would result in the auditor giving them something.

Examples of this may be ISO 9001:2008 Certification, one of many Excellence Awards, a contract – in the case of a customer auditing a supplier, etc.

Read more: FAQs in Quality

LMIT provides online training and certification courses on the Diploma of Quality Auditing, Diploma in Quality Management and the Quality Auditing qualification.

Published by: LMIT

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