The audit is carried out to determine whether guidelines, requirements or processes in a company meet the required standards. An audit therefore does not refer to the company itself, but to the management system that is implemented. According to DIN EN ISO 9000, an audit is a "systematic and objective examination to determine the degree of fulfilment of agreed requirements".
In quality management there are different forms of audits: the product audit, the procedural audit, the process audit and the system audit.
There is also a distinction between internal audit (first party), external supplier audit (second party) and external certification audit (third party). While the internal audit rather serves self-assessment, the external audit is carried out either by the customer, by a party commissioned by the customer (supplier audit) or by an accredited certification body (certification audit).
Today, audits are carried out not only in quality management, but also in almost all areas of the company. On the one hand, audits are carried out to check the current status and compliance with the objectives, on the other hand, they are also carried out to eliminate general problems or identify areas for improvement.