What Is an Audit Corrective Action Plan?

An audit corrective action plan is a detailed document that highlights the targeted outcomes to resolve undesirable actions identified in an audit. So when audit findings are not good such as having loads of risks and nonconformances, the audit corrective action plan aims to lessen these issues by not only identifying the problem but also resolving it. And just like any action plan, this document is reliable to follow if you want improvements in the next operations to come, specifically in gathering desirable audit outcomes next time.

According to the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), a corrective action plan must identify the root causes of an audit’s nonconformances within seven calendar days.

Why Are Audit Corrective Action Plans Important?

Audit corrective action plans are more than just for the sake of documentation purposes. In fact, you are guided by the plan on how to implement the best corrective actions from start to finish. And here are some of the top reasons that prove just how important an audit correction action plan is:

Improves Audit Processes and Methods

Remember that an audit corrective action plan addresses the issue or root cause of nonconformance. But, it does more than just identify the problem because the plan includes an improvement plan. That way, you can go for an efficient and effective audit process. So if you have struggled with previous audits before, allow a corrective action plan to fix your errors so better methods will take over your work.

Streamlines the Next Audit Workflow

Not only will you correct the next audit process but you get to experience a more streamlined audit workflow as well. An audit corrective action plan aims to make auditing easier and more cost effective. Just like a standard audit plan, the audit corrective action plan marks the blueprint of operations on how to deliver an easy yet effective auditing process and result. So if you have any questions about what to do next or you forget how to do a certain step, simply refer to the plan to be guided.

Recognizes Appropriate Solutions to Resolve Issues

Through educational guesses, anyone can think of a solution to resolve audit issues. However, audit corrective action plans are more focused on delivering the most appropriate solution to resolve such problems. That means you can’t just use a random solution as not every solution is meant to be the most appropriate and effective one. With the help of a strategic plan that is outlined in the corrective action plan, you can surely hope for the best results in mitigating audit risks and issues.

Prevents Future Problems

You should know by now that audit corrective action plans are meant to benefit your work’s future. Similar problems can be lessened and prevented in your next auditing process. So rather than allowing poor audit results to take over and experiencing the same issues every audit, your audit’s future is much brighter when its different facets are already improved and rectified. Hence, you can treat an audit corrective action plan as your audit’s official development plan.

Works for Different Applications

You can certainly apply an audit corrective action plan for different applications and purposes. Remember that in any industry, making an audit report is always relevant. Whether you are under finance, marketing, healthcare, or even the food industry, ensuring that the appropriate measures are conducted in the auditing process is essential. So at least audit corrective action plans are not simply limited to a few organizations since they can be used by any business in general.

The Main Elements of an Audit Corrective Action Plan

What makes up a basic audit corrective action plan? A plan can be very detailed that it gets difficult to pinpoint every element in the action plan right away. However, it is expected that audit corrective action plans contain the following essential elements:

Title Page: Start your audit corrective action plan with a title page. And the words “audit corrective action plan” better be present in the title itself to be specific on what the document is called. The title page also contains other basic information such as the introductory statement.Table of Contents: Follow the title page with the plan’s table of contents. And just like any standard TOC, this section introduces what specific elements can be found in the audit corrective action plan including each element’s corresponding page for navigation purposes.Problem Statement: Identifying and defining the problem is the most important element of the corrective action plan. You won’t be able to compose the right corrective action without understanding the main problem in the audit. So when you know the main issue, you eventually get to compose potential solutions. Be sure to analyze the audit results and nonconforming factors so you get to create the appropriate problem statement.Stakeholders: Be sure to identify who is involved in the corrective action planning stage. Hence, name every stakeholder including significant identification details such as addresses and contact lists.Due Date: Remember to set a deadline on when to complete every action item until the desired resolution is met. Expect the audit corrective action plan to lay out a series of steps in the form of a task list and are arranged according to priority and urgency level. Also, denote the consequences involved if due dates weren’t met.Risk Assessment: To properly estimate the level of risks involved per action item, conduct a risk assessment plan. Risk assessment enables organizations to recognize not only the risks involved but also to get rid of the highest risks involved in certain actions. Also, it is through the audit risk assessment that you can determine if actions would really resolve the issue or there is a need to make a new process again.Root Cause: Finding the root cause that led to nonconformance or any issue helps you figure out the possible solutions to such an issue. And it is through root cause analysis that you can really ace this step. What is causing the issue? And why is that? Analyze the situation carefully before you create random action items.Action Items: Speaking of action items, they are the next element to write in the audit corrective action plan. These actions or tasks to accomplish are how your organization plans to fix the main problem. So be sure to write this part on a step-by-step basis such as an itemized list.Metrics for Completion: Every corrective action plan has its own metric system. These metrics for completion are like a strategy map that you must follow to resolve the issue. An example is when the audit realized that more customers are upset about your organization’s service. Hence, your metric for completion is to have more satisfied clients.Progress Updates: When you are done making the audit corrective action plan, the process does not simply stop there. You need to monitor if everything goes exactly as planned. Just like a tracking log, you can see how many action items are finished or still in progress. And it is through progress updates that you can identify whether the plan needs an improvement or adjustment to work.

How to Make an Audit Corrective Action Plan

There is no doubt that audit corrective action plans help make audit findings strengthen an organization. More so, auditors get to conduct assessments and audits more efficiently with a corrective action plan in the process. And with your knowledge regarding the plan’s definition, importance, and elements, you are equipped enough to create your own audit corrective action plan. Be sure to follow these steps to streamline the process of making the plan:

  • Step 1: Set SMART Goals

    The planning process marks the foundation of your audit corrective action plan. So be sure to document everything discussed while planning so you have a reliable draft to use for reference in completing the plan later on. And the key to planning is to incorporate SMART goals towards the corrective actions you plan to achieve. That means you set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals to reach the desired resolution.

  • Step 2: Download and Customize a Template

    Put your ideas into action by using a sample audit corrective action plan template. Simply download any of the customizable templates enlisted above and you can personalize its format and content after. Tons of options are available such as a safety corrective action plan template, employee corrective action plan template, sample corrective action plan response, or simply a sample corrective action plan template. Pick a template you can optimize from over 15+ editable and printable examples now!

  • Step 3: Insert the Audit Corrective Action Plan’s Elements

    As you slowly work on your template by filling in the crucial information, be sure to add the basic elements of an audit corrective action plan in your checklist of details to insert. From the title page down to the progress updates, these standard examples make up a solid audit corrective action plan. But, you can also insert more relevant elements or take out unnecessary ones as long as you know what works best for your audit corrective action plan.

  • Step 4: Consider the Plan’s Accuracy, Readability, and Completeness

    Observe the audit corrective action plan you made and edited so far. But this time, you observe according to the plan’s accuracy, readability, and overall content. The details must be fact-checked until you are guaranteed a correct and precise audit corrective action plan. Also, mind the details if they are easy to understand or clear enough for reading. Otherwise, you need to edit your words for more readable content. And lastly, check if you have stated everything that needs to be stated in the plan. If some details are still lacking, add them until it is complete.

  • Step 5: Conduct Training

    Now that you have produced a stellar audit corrective action plan, it is time to prepare a training plan. Remember that any type of corrective action plan involves various changes that an organization should adjust to. So whoever is involved or expected to perform the enlisted actions there should be fully trained. That way, running the overall plan would run smoothly and accurately. Most importantly, aim for improvement as much as possible.


How many days should the root causes of audit nonconformances be identified in a corrective action plan?

Expect around seven calendar days for the corrective action plan to determine the root causes of an audit’s nonconformances.

What is the purpose of an audit corrective action plan?

The main purposes of audit corrective action plans are: (1) to determine the root cause, (2) to describe the proposed corrective action, (3) to apply corrective and preventive action, (4) to set the action’s deadline, and (5) to track the status of every action item.

What are some tips to resolve findings with a corrective action plan?

Here are some ideas that can help you resolve findings with a corrective action plan:

  • Identify if a corrective action plan is relevant or not.
  • Determine the parties and resources involved.
  • Implement the corrective action plan.
  • Update the related documentation.
  • Conduct a retest on the audit.

From identifying audit nonconformance root causes, recognizing the corrective action process, to applying the appropriate corrective action steps, audit corrective action plans can save lots of businesses and organizations. Remember that whether results are good or bad in an audit, the goal is still for improvement and not to simply criticize. So be sure to demonstrate the necessary corrective action and commit to getting the best results in an audit with a sample audit corrective action plan as your guide. Download a template now!