Factory Audit 1

Factory Audit: The Ultimate Guide

Factory audit refers to a standardized process that is put in place by quality managers.

It establishes if a supplier conforms to the company’s required standards in providing services and products of high quality.

The purpose of this guide is to give you a clear understanding of how a factory audit works and the importance of a factory audit.

It also involves various factors surrounding factory audit processes and types of factory audits.

How Factory Audit Works



The last step in selecting a supplier is approving the factory where production will take.

The aim of a factory audit is to ensure that the factory audited can manufacture or produce quality products in the right quantities and at the right time.

It is important to ensure that the factory audits are done regularly.

This ensures that the factory gets to improve its systems over time.

The way a factory audit works includes:

  • Identification: search potential suppliers on directories and trade shows.
  • Screening by questionnaire: down to a shortlist of about three to five candidates.
  • We are conducting background checks and in-depth audits through screening by verification.
  • Documents verification: once screening has been done, the auditor conducts a verification on financial information, the factory’s official licenses, and certifications.

The auditors also look for evidence of similar orders the factory had fulfilled earlier.

  • Observation of the production area: it involves the definition of the factory’s product specialization and how the production line works.

It also involves a checklist on the factory’s facilities, human resources, machinery and production line.

  • Verification of the quality system: this process involves comparing the factory’s’ quality system with the ISO9001 certification.

Activities such as materials usage, product processing, and final goods are also verified.

  • Social compliance issues: evaluation of issues such as employees’ working conditions, fair wages, overtime, living conditions, environmental impacts among other issues of concern.
  • Report preparation: finally, a report based on observations and subjective evaluation is prepared by the auditor.

Types of Factory Audits

Some of the common types of factory audits used include:

1. Manufacturing Audit

This type of factory audit aims to establish if a supplier can produce a product that conforms to your company’s specifications.

The supplier should take care of costly disruptions and prevent further cost interferences upon commencement of the production process.

Some of the benefits of manufacturing audit include:

  • It gives assurance that the manufacturing facilities of your supplier are capable of meeting your product demands.
  • Ensures alignment between supplier policies and your company’s policies leading to improved business.
  • Identifies and controls potential risks in quality, operation, or ethics.
  • Affirms on how the factory’s management is competent.

2. Ethical Audit

They help ensure continuous review on social accountability due to the increased pressure on companies being socially accountable.

It ensures that appropriate working conditions are being provided to both internal and external personnel.

Some of the benefits of the ethical audit include:

  • Ensures human rights prices and fair working conditions.
  • Assists in determining compliance with statutory requirements.
  • Through the ethical audit, unauthorized subcontracting is prevented.
  • Grants understanding of ethical compliance.
  • You can build a cooperative relationship with suppliers.
  • The brand image of your company will be improved, leading to customer loyalty.

3. Structural Audit

It is designed to assess the safety and integrity of your supplier’s premises, fire safety measures, codes, and conditions relevant, and structural integrity.

Some of the advantages of the structural audit include:

  • Enhances safety working conditions.
  • Protects employees’ health from danger.
  • Reputation and brand image is maintained.
  • Supply chain interruptions are prevented.
  • Reviews and assures compliance with statutory requirements.

4. Environmental Audit

It helps to evaluate compliance with local regulations and laws by monitoring your supply chain’s environmental impact and improving it continuously.

Some of the benefits of the environmental audit include:

  • Assurance that the company’s regulations compliance and international principles are being followed to the latter.
  • Improvement of environmental performance.
  • Able to get a clear frame of suppliers’ environmental impacts by combining audit reports with lab tests.
  • Verifies conformity to international and local regulations for the protection of the environment.

5. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) Audit

C-TPAT main focus is the improvement of security concerning terrorism of private organizations in supply chains.

Some of the benefits of C-TPAT include:

  • Reinforces security in the supply chain.
  • Ensures integrity of security activities.
  • Verifies compliance with security practices.
  • Improves border security.

6. Food Supplier Audit

This is a factory audit for food suppliers aimed at assessing manufacturing processes and food hygiene.

The main aim is to ensure food suppliers meet appropriate standards.

Some of the benefits of a food supplier audit include:

  • Shows commitment to the safety of food.
  • Increases the confidence of consumers.
  • Improves the efficiency of operations.
  • Ensures adherence to government requirements.

Purpose of Factory Audit

 Factory audit

Factory audit

The purpose of the factory audit includes but not limited to:

  • Verification of total capacities of production, manufacturing, technical capability, export experience, and quality management systems.
  • Provision of all relevant information.
  • Conducting a review of the factory’s certificates and qualifications.
  • Reviewing product quality and certificates.
  • Surveying various areas of the factory, such as cleanliness, facilities, workshop, and environment.
  • Assessment of factory personnel in skill level, number of workers in the production process, and management.
  • Assessment of factory machinery and equipment capability by looking at type, condition, quantity, and maintenance records.
  • Checking of previous records of capabilities and production.
  • Assessment of quality plans and records.

Basic Principles of Factory Auditing

Basic principles of factory auditing include:

  • Planning: an auditor should organize himself to complete their work on time and in the desired quality.
  • Honesty: an auditor should be free from any interest and should perform duties without biasness.
  • Secrecy: the information acquired during the audit is kept private and not share with a third party without the client’s consent.
  • Audit evidence: compliance and substantive procedures for collecting evidence should be adhered to by an auditor.
  • Internal control systems: companies should ensure that they put in place adequate control systems as this will determine the duration and nature of the audit conducted.
  • Skill and competence: You should conduct factory audits with trained expertise, and you should educate audit staff on auditing and legal issues.
  • Others do work: an auditor has permission to rely on others’ work but should exercise due diligence during referencing.
  • Working papers: an auditor should prepare and store well all paperwork obtained during the audit process.
  • Legal framework: You should run all businesses following rules and regulations set in place by the legal framework.
  • Audit report: an auditor has permission to speak their mind on a company’s financial statements.

Process of Auditing a Factory

The process of auditing a factory entails the following steps:

  • Selection of audit type: it is essential to select the specific type of audit you want to use to meet your particular objectives.
  • List tasks and perform audit: depending on the audit that you need, you will require to accurately measure a given area’s performance and effectiveness by completing specific tasks.
  • Record findings in the audit report: you should have your auditors prepare a piece of comprehensive information once the whole process is complete.

It is essential to review each piece of information and discuss the listed issues in a meeting.

  • Determine and conduct corrective action: use the reports obtained; you should determine disciplinary actions that could fix the listed issues of the company and sort it out.
  • Schedule a follow-up audit: if, after corrective action, there are no further arising issues, you may close the audit.

If there are emerging additional matters, you may organize and schedule a follow-up audit.

How Factory Audits to Improve the Efficiency of Operations

By objectively conducting a review of your company’s policies and procedures, factory audits grant assurance that you perform what is required.

These processes are essential in reducing your risks.

By continuously monitoring and analyzing your processes, factory audits help identify ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

It allows your company to be independent in practices and not depend on other people.

Benefits of Factory Audit

Some of the benefits of factory audit include:

  • Promote best practices for controls.
  • Business improvements.
  • Determines the adequacy of internal controls.
  • Ensures a company’s compliance with policies and regulations in place.
  • Provides objective insight.
  • Identifies inefficiencies in operation and waste.
  • Assesses responsible and efficient use of resources.
  • Helps in the identification of potential cost-saving strategies.
  • Assists the management in handling cross-functional and complex issues.
  • Factory audit detects and prevents fraud.
  • It is a basis for better planning and budgeting in an organization.

Different Types of Factory Auditor Opinions

An auditor opinion report refers to a letter that auditors attach to the final audit report that shows their opinion concerning the audit.

Audit opinions include:

  • Unqualified opinion-clean report: it is the most often type of opinion given by auditors and indicates the auditor’s satisfaction with the company’s system.

The clean report comments are not adverse, and it does not provide any disclaimers on the audit process or clauses.

  • Qualified opinion: it is issued when the auditor lacks confidence about some specific processes or transactions conducted by the company.

The most common reason for unqualified opinion is when the company fails to present its records with GAAP.

  • Disclaimer opinion: it is issued if an auditor is distancing from giving any opinion concerning financial statements.

The most common reason for this is when an auditor feels like limitations for conducting a thorough audit were made by the company.

  • Adverse opinion: it is offered if an auditor was not satisfied with the financial statements.

An adverse report is a clear indication that a company may have potential fraud and gross misstatements.

Using the ISO 9001 Audit Checklist to Conduct a Factory Audit

ISO 9001 audit refers to an objective process that is documented and systematic and is used to gather facts.

ISO 9001 audit checklist is an essential element in planning for an audit and is a requirement under ISO 9001 standards.

It comprises a series of questions obtained from quality management system standard requirements and any other company processes.

The checklist is created as part of the factory audit preparation and reviewed by the auditor using ISO 9001 requirements and process documentation stated by the company.

The inventory should adapt to the organization’s process.

The ISO 9001 clause for management states that management review should include:

  • Information provided on audit results.
  • Feedback from the customer.
  • Product conformity.
  • Process performance.
  • Follow up actions done from previous reviews by management.
  • Changes that could have an impact on the management system.
  • Recommendations for improvement.

Using the ISO 9001 checklist to audit, auditors will base on the index provided to assess for evidence ascertaining that the process being audited conforms to its requirements.

It is also essential to use the ISO 9001 standard in situations where documentation is not available.

It should be conducted by basing the main focus on process inputs, outputs, suppliers, steps, and customers.

This is to ascertain that employees consistently understand them using the process available.

Another goal of using ISO 9001 is to analyze the entire process and confirm that the records available show that it meets its requirements.

Steps of Performing a Factory Audit

The steps of performing an audit include:

  • I am receiving a vague factory audit assignment.
  • Gathering information about a factory audit subject.
  • Determination of factory audit criteria.
  • Identification of inherent risks.
  • Redefining of factory audit objectives and sub-objectives.
  • Identification of controls and assessment of control risk.
  • Choosing of methodologies.
  • Budgeting of each methodology.
  • Formalizing of the factory audit program
  • Performing and documentation of factory audit methodologies.
  • Conclusion of the entire factory audit process.
  • Drafting of findings.
  • Presenting a finalized report.

Tips for Passing Compliance Factory Audits

To pass a compliance factory audit, the following are a few tips companies can use:

  • Carry out an internal factory audit using internal auditors.
  • Ensure that all the factory employees observe compliance issues for accountability purposes.
  • Ensure that you keep the previous audit reports and compliance certificates.
  • Monitor the factory’s information systems and ensure compliance.
  • Ensure that all the security protocols are followed to the later and upgrade them regularly.
  • Always keep up with the latest regulation in the industry.
  • Ensure that employee training on security, safety, and compliance policies is consistent and regular.
  • Keep the factory’s documentation updated and within reach.

Difference between a Factory Audit and an Inspection

Some of the differences between factory audit and inspection include:

Quality assurance

Quality assurance

  • Factory audits focus on what should be done, while inspections focus on why you should do it.
  • A factory audit is a process, while inspection focuses on the action to be implemented.
  • Factory audits are qualitative as they explore numerous complexities, while inspections are quantitative.
  • Factory audits entail following a complicated process, while the inspections process is simple.
  • Factory audits create recommendations to be reviewed while inspections make actions that are straight forward.

How to Prepare for a Factory Audit

Companies may prepare for a factory audit in the following way:

  • Establishing a quality management system for the product manufactured.
  • Preparation of documents to be checked on site.
  • Conducting an internal audit.
  • Management review of internal audit.
  • Initiation of corrective actions.
  • Addressing identified gaps.

Shortcomings of Factory Audits

Some of the shortcomings of factory audits include:

  • Factory audits may not account for subsequent changes in practices.
  • If they are poorly done, they can significantly affect companies that lack the intention of changing their practices.

Difference between Internal Factory Audit and External Factory Audit

While internal and external factory audit functions complement each other and need to work closely, they differ in focus areas.

They don’t conflict or compete, but they serve in achieving effective governance.

Some of the differences between the internal factory audit and external factory audit include:

  • Internal factory audit analyzes and improves the controls and performance of an organization.

External factory audit considers compliance controls and finances and evaluates the risk and control landscape measures for strategy performance.

  • Internal factory audit assesses organizational health and establishes practices supporting strategic objectives and risks that might impact goals.

External factory audit pays attention to whether the accounts of an organization present its financial performance accurately.

  • An internal factory audit is ongoing and preventive and gives management suggestions and covers all risks and control processes.

External factory audit takes place annually or at least once every five years.

  • Internal factory audit’s primary audience is the senior management, the board of directors, the audience committee, and other groups.

External factory audit’s audience comprises shareholders, investors, company members, customers, or regulators who are not part of the internal governance.

  • Internal factory auditors may originate from a variety of academic backgrounds or professions.

External factory auditors are either government employees for compliance audits, certified accountants for financial audits, or compliance professionals.

Items Investigated during a Factory Audit.

Some of the items that will be inspected during a factory audit include:

  • Survey of the factory profile. It includes personnel, equipment, certifications, organization structure, and facilities.
  • Analyzing the production process and its capacity.
  • Checking process control and quality assurance.
  • Previous production records and company capabilities.
  • Taking pictures of every aspect that portrays the “feeling” of the factory.

Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS)

GAAS refers to systematic guidelines used by auditors during the process of auditing a company.

GAAS serves as the basis for measuring the quality of audits conducted.

Importance of GAAS in a factory audit includes:

  • They help ensure accuracy.
  • Form a basis for consistency.
  • Assist in verifying auditor’s actions and reports provided.

Some of the requirements for GAAS include:

  • The auditor should have enough technical training and expertise to carry out the audit.
  • An auditor should collect and understand all the company’s information to design an audit procedure that suits.
  • The auditor must obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence through performing audit procedures.
  • You must state a statement of financial statements’ availability as it is a requirement with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • In any case, the principles have not been observed sufficiently; the auditor must identify such circumstances in the final report.
  • Auditors’ reports should highlight scenarios where there is an insufficient informative disclosure in financial statements.

Factory Audit of Social Responsibility

Consistent news of corporate corruption has resulted in companies paying more attention to putting in place policies that reflect corporate social responsibility.



It has resulted in companies establishing a checklist to ensure that what they do is in line with excellent business etiquette standards.

The corporate social responsibility implemented by companies comprises of:

  • Strategy and vision: comprise all aspects of an organization’s vision statements and strategic goals.
  • One should always bring ac
  • countability and oversight: destructive behaviors in the organization into administration and leaders held accountable for their practices.
  • Risk identification: helps companies in determination of the level of risk encountered and measures to curb it.

Cost of Factory Audit in China

The factory audit price in China is about $199 per factory, all-inclusive.

Key Elements to Assess when Conducting a Factory Audit

You can use a Factory audit to assess your current providers and choose the best suppliers for business.

The key elements you should focus on when evaluating your supplier include:

  • Productivity: the right supplier should always deliver on time.

It can be ascertained by evaluating the supplier’s production process, manufacturing equipment, machines, and workflows.

  • Quality control: ascertain that your supplier provides your products’ desired quality by measuring their existing quality management systems.

A sound quality management system should have monitoring measures for helping in continuous improvement.

  • Regulatory compliance: ensure that your supplier is compliant with the business requirement and have the necessary documentation to avoid putting your company at risk.

Ways in which you can Conduct Factory Audits

Factory audits in the following ways:

  • On-site factory audits are conducted in full days, and the number of days will be determined by factors like complexity, risk, size, and the company’s nature.
  • Small factory audits: this may be conducted through teleconferencing, web meetings, or by an electronic process of verification.
  • In this way, self-factory audits can be requested by interested parties like customers to ascertain that you are meeting your requirements.

Factory Audit of Security

It is security measures put in place by governments and customs organizations.

The main aim of factory audits of security is to secure trade, protect against terrorist acts, and stop illegal trafficking.

Some of the benefits of factory audit of security include:

  • Assists importers and suppliers to put together efforts through collaboration and the same industry platform
  • Provides sufficient room for collecting information, analyzing data, and reporting to allow room for making an informed decision.
  • It reduces audit fatigue.
  • Enhances efficiency of the entire audit process.

Responsibilities of Factory Auditors

Some responsibilities of factory auditors include:

  • Provision of an audit report: giving an audit report that reflects the accurate picture of financial statements and company affairs is the auditor’s primary responsibility.
  • Reporting failure to maintain proper books of account: in case of this, it is a requirement the auditor express their opinion to the company’s management.
  • Duty to report indictable offenses: if factory auditors discover that the company has committed indictable violations under its activities, they should inform.
  • Exercising of professional integrity: factory auditors must exercise professional integrity in all their dealings.
  • Collating, checking, and analyzing data on the spreadsheet.
  • Examination of the company’s financial control systems and accounts.
  • Ensuring the assets of the company are safeguarded.
  • Making sure there is adherence to legislation, procedures, policies, and regulations.

Importance of Internal Factory Audit

An internal factory audit is essential, and its purpose is to keep the organization in compliance with legal frameworks and regulations.

Some reasons why internal factory audit is essential to include:

  • Improves efficiency of operations: continuous analysis of policies and procedures will give you confidence in the direction the organization is headed to
  • Provides objective insight: internal factory audits allow you to audit your work without having a conflict of interest.
  • Protects assets and evaluates risks: this will help track and document any changes made to the surrounding environment and curb risks found.
  • Assesses controls in an organization by analyzing the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
  • Ensures compliance with laws and regulations, which provides peace of mind as you are always ready for the next external audit.

What to do After an Internal Audit

After doing an internal audit:

  • Hold an auditor meeting with the concerned parties and discuss what was missed and non-conformances.
  • Issue the auditor report on time.
  • Encourage auditees to implement corrective action against irregularities.
  • Help and give guidance to parties responsible for completing corrective actions and set reasonable deadlines.
  • Take feedback given by auditees and the perception of the audit team.

Difference between Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS)

Some of the differences between GAAP and GAAS include:

  • GAAP ensures the use of some standards in preparation of financial statements of an organization.

While GAAS makes available a platform for the preparation of an audit report that is transparent and reliable

  • GAAP entails a set of guidelines for an organization to base on a standard in preparing financial statements.

GAAS are auditing standards that are aimed at helping auditors conduct unbiased and transparent auditing.

  • A famous GAAP example is International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

While famous GAAS are AICPA issued GAAS and International Auditing Standards (IAS).

  • GAAP contains standards of accounting that companies should follow in preparation of financial statements.

GAAS provides standards used to evaluate the financial statements’ compliance to ascertain that they confer with necessary measures.

  • In the timeline of preparing financial statements, GAAP comes into use before GAAS does because financial statements need to be prepared first before an evaluation on the same takes place.

Essential Questions to Ask Factory Auditors

Some of the crucial questions you should ask factory auditors include:

 Factory audit

Factory audit

  • In companies like yours, what activities are open to fraud? Auditors with expertise will highlight areas of potential risks and suggest measures to put in place to curb them.
  • What are the industry risks that may have an impact on our financial reporting? Experienced auditors might be able to clarify based on similar companies.
  • What are our key information technology risks, and how adequate are our controls? Auditors need to elaborate on the IT function, including the elimination of points of weakness.
  • How do our accounting policies compare to our competitors? This issue may give room for the auditor to identify areas of improvement.
  • What do you do when you identify a problem? It is essential to ascertain the cause of action an auditor will take after identifying a problem.

Critical Elements for Factory Audit, when Sourcing for products from a New Factory in China

  • Verify supplier legitimacy: working with a new supplier is quite risky, but an audit from a reputable firm reduces the uncertainties.

It is vital to collect necessary certifications and licenses, renting contracts, and property ownership certificates to ascertain supplier legitimacy.

  • Verify production process: this will highlight a lot of information concerning the supplier’s ability to produce goods of high quality and quantity.
  • Machinery and equipment, measuring tools: information on machinery and equipment will help establish the production capability.

It will also be an indication of whether the production process control can meet your expectations.

  • Verify human resource: clear information about human resource structure will assist you with the number of people in various production departments.
  • Verify production capability: the manufacturer must provide an annual production report to establish their production ability.
  • Verify the quality management system (QMS): auditors will establish the effectiveness of the QMS based on ISO 9001 standard.

It will help in the determination of the quality risks in the supply chain.

Top 10 Audit Deficiencies

Some of the top audit deficiencies include:

  • Lack of enough evidence due to over-reliance on audit deficiencies.
  • Audit report not meeting the requisite threshold especially on the evaluation of management estimates.
  • Audit reports lack of sufficient audit evidence.
  • Unprofessionalism in the audit report.
  • Low levels of professional skepticism in writing and carrying out audits.
  • Not following the laid down procedures of auditing such as application of GAAP requirement.
  • Inherent risk issues and non-routine transactions.
  • Failing to confirm accounts receivable.
  • Ignoring the factory’s control weaknesses and using the same weaknesses in audit reports.
  • Non-disclosure of key-related parties.

Definition of Internal Controls

Internal controls are a common term used by auditors when they want to carry out audits in departments.

The integrity of the company’s operating systems depends highly on authorities that are functioning correctly.

The internal controls systems comprise of all measures taken by an organization to:

  • Protect assets against fraud and waste.
  • Ensure accounting records are accurate and reliable.
  • Measure and encourage compliance with rules and regulations.
  • Evaluate to ascertain operations are working efficiently.

Activities that Happen in a Factory Audit

After an area is selected for review, the following activities generally occur in a factory audit:

  • Opening conference: a meeting occurs between managers being audited and internal auditors where the objectives are clearly stated and any arising concerns raised.
  • Fieldwork: This activity entails the conduction of interviews with the appropriate department employees about their duties.

Tests on relevant departmental documents are also conducted to determine the accuracy of internal control systems.

  • Exit conference: once the fieldwork is complete, auditors will meet informally with departmental management to discuss the preliminary results.

There is room for clarification and adjustment if there is any information that had been misinterpreted.

  • Report writing: once the exit conference is done, the auditor in charge will create a report highlighting what was done, findings, and recommendations on improvement areas.
  • Management response: a copy of the answer is sent to management for review, and they are required to submit a recommendation to be included in the report.
  • Reporting process: the report is then sent to all management levels concerned, and you should respond within thirty days.
  • Follow up the process: follow up procedure is often made to establish if recommendations have been implemented and the importance of handling them.

Objectives of Factory Audit

The objectives of a factory audit are to ensure that:

  • All relevant information is adequately included in the audit report.
  • Recorded transactions have occurred.
  • Amounts have been entered to the right accounting period they occurred.
  • Assets of an organization are owned by it, and all liabilities are owed.
  • Correct classification of the amount reported in the financial statements and cost.
  • Business and economic circumstances in which the company operates are well reflected in the statements.

Functional Approaches of Factory Audit

The functional approaches to factory audit are basically:

  • Establishing a critical review of an organization’s systems and procedures.
  • Making tests and inquiries into audit results and operation of the systems as the auditor might consider necessary to form an opinion.
  • Expression of the opinions conveyed in clearly understandable terms that have been developed.
  • Ensuring that an opinion covers all required aspects by the law or professional requirements.

How does an Investigation Compare to a Factory Audit?

The investigation is not similar to a factory audit, although full facts are necessary to both.

Some of the comparisons between investigation and factory audit include:


  • It is a compulsory requirement under the companies act.
  • Any person can undertake it.
  • Conducted on behalf of company management or other third parties like government, bankers, or incoming partners.
  • The period covered is not fixed and might even be subject to expansion.
  • The purpose of an inspection may result from any arising circumstances.
  • In addition to books of account, the inspection takes into account causative factors and other facts.


  • It is a compulsory requirement under the companies act.
  • Undertaken by a chartered accountant.
  • Conducted on behalf of shareholders or proprietors of a company.
  • The period to be covered is fixed and covers twelve months only.
  • The purpose of a factory audit is definite.
  • The main concern is analyzing books of account and related records.

Features of a Clean Factory Audit Report

A clean factory audit report is one issued by an auditor without an opinion or reservation.

Features of a clean factory audit report include:

  • Transactions should give an accurate record of events.
  • All disclosure requirements, according to the companies’ act, should be appropriately followed.
  • Accounts prepared should conform to accepted standards and should be reliable.

With the information in this guide, I am sure now you understand all the critical aspects of factory audit.

However, if you need help or you have any questions, feel free to contact BanSar team now.