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Standard Operating Procedure Quality Audits


In the world of Shared Services where hundreds of employees work together to complete work activities across a wide range of back-office processes and geographies, managing an ongoing change process where standard procedures are created and frequently updated as customer needs change or as new technologies or processes designs are implemented, is a key success factor.  As important is the review process to ensure that the policies and procedures at a detailed level are being consistently followed and applied.  

Ensuring that policies and procedures, including detailed desk procedures, are consistently understood and followed with any exceptions identified and defined is a key success factor for any Shared Services operations.  For many, this means defining a process for quality audits of all Standard Operating Procedures as a check on compliance.

iPollingTM Results Review

Recently a Service Management Lead at a Peeriosity member company created a poll to better understand how peer companies were performing Standard Operating Procedure quality audits.  The first poll question asked about the approach member companies were taking to perform Standard Operating Procedure quality audits.  The results indicate that 42% are conducting a self-audit, where each team is responsible to perform the audit. While no companies reported relying on a peer audit where reviews are completed by separate teams, within Shared Services, 26% report the audits are completed by an internal Shared Services QA team, with 5% relying on audits that are completed by an external party.  An additional 16% reported using a mix of self-audits, internal audits, and external audits.  Only 11% reported that they did not have a formal audit process in place. 

performance of standard operating procedure quality audits

The second poll question looked at the frequency of Standard Operating Procedure audits to occur.  The range covered almost every option, with 6% auditing bi-weekly and 60% selecting either quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.  18% indicated there wasn’t a scheduled frequency, and 24% reported that it depended on the type of audit that was being conducted.  Here are the details:

at what frequency are you performing your SOP quality audits

Below are several of the comments from Peeriosity members that provide additional insight:

  • Combination of self, internal, and external.
  • QA audits are completed bi-weekly.
  • Every 3 years a full review is completed.
  • Self-audits, internal audits, and external SOX audits are completed. Self-audits are monthly, internal audits are typically quarterly and external audits are at least annually.
  • Our Internal QA Team runs an annual audit program that covers selected (but not all) processes and Standard Operating Procedures.
  • We are actually just implementing a quality program for the review of compliance with Standard Operating Procedures. We have created a volunteer-based internal team to perform the audits and will be doing the reviews quarterly. We expect to pull a small sample (maybe 20) each quarter to review.
  • We are in the early stages – have just completed SOPs for all processes, we will be establishing our frequency and audit process with more formality once we get to stabilization.
  • We have several control steps to assess whether Standard Operating Procedures are followed. An internal QA team pulls monthly/quarterly samples (frequency depends on whether the item is a critical or major control). Annually, we have Control Self Assessments, some of these can be done every other year. Finally, our internal and external audit teams have a rolling schedule so that each area is checked every 2-3 years. We continue to pursue robotics and analytics to target sampling and increase efficiency/effectiveness.

Closing Summary

Having Standard Operating Procedures that are clearly defined and consistently followed is a key success factor for any Shared Services operation.  As a result, investing in one or more audit processes to ensure compliance is an approach that is followed by most companies.  At Peeriosity, member companies can quickly identify how leading peers approach this challenge, with the ability to follow up directly with peers for additional discussions. 

How are you currently performing Standard Operating Procedure quality audits for your Shared Services operations?  If you are performing quality audits, what is the frequency of the audit reviews?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

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