The design of an audit checklist may be based on the guidelines of an industry standard or tailored to the outcomes of a process. A robust audit checklist presents an auditor with a predefined list of questions or checkpoints that may be answered directly as "yes" or "no."
An audit checklist is a diagnostic and evaluative tool used by an auditor to check individual and organizational compliance to statutory and regulatory requirements, prescribed organizational guidelines, international industrial standards or generally recognized best practices. According to the International Organization for Standardization, the creation of an audit checklist may be broadly classified into two distinct steps. First, identify the process that needs to be audited. Then, obtain a process manual and a process map to understand the scope, methods and desired outcomes of the process. Review each step of the process by identifying potential or documented points that necessitate compliance.
Next, write out questions or parameters that require a binary response in the affirmative or the negative. An important aspect of creating an audit checklist is to ensure that every question or parameter checks compliance to a standard or to the expected outcomes of a process. Some checklists may be designed to accept numerical values in comparison with a standard. Finally, it is imperative to ensure that the checklist is validated by an independent authority to ensure it can be used to perform an unbiased, objective audit.