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Tips and Tricks of the Trade – Cathy Keech



Cathy Keech is one of Exemplar Global’s long-term customers, having held a certification with us for over 21 years. She is the people, culture and systems manager at CDR (a family business in the construction industry) while also acting as a contract lead auditor for large certification bodies in Australia. With over 28 years in the compliance industry, Cathy isn’t short of #TipsandTricksoftheTrade to share with our community.

“Throughout the years you develop your own tip and tricks at work for you, no two auditors have the same tips that may or may not work for another,” explained Cathy.

“I, for instance, don’t take notes throughout an opening meeting – at all.  I want my clients to know that I’m totally engaged with them and what their challenges are, and how the current business climate is affecting them.  I take mental notes to then ask more questions later once I’m doing the one-on-one interviews with the relevant managers.  By doing this, the clients and meeting participants feel that this a safe space to talk about what’s going on and don’t have to worry about me taking notes and them saying the wrong thing.”

Cathy said that having a strong list of #TipsandTricksoftheTrade is highly beneficial for auditors. It helps them develop their professional capabilities, learn about the industries they’re auditing and “not hold onto old stuff that they knew 10 years ago.”

“Our industry is always changing, and thinking you know everything because you may have worked in that industry years ago does not make you a good auditor,” she continued.

Overall, Cathy said that she lives by these three rules: “be organized, plan ahead and get to know the client you’re auditing”. She applies them in all her dealings with clients.

“It’s important that you build relationships with your clients so that they trust you enough to be open and honest about what’s going on in their business,” she added. “This offers up the opportunity for you, as an auditor, to raise findings that will help them achieve their business goals and further develop their systems.”

“Audits are not about a ‘gotcha’ moment, they are about leaving the client better than you’ve found them via opportunities for improvements, or where deficiencies have been identified and discussed throughout,” she concluded.

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