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Tips and Tricks of the Trade – Dr Ajay Shah



Dr Ajay Shah Ph.D. is a highly respected and experienced food scientist/technologist who is well renowned in the industry. Over the past 22 years he has owned and operated AAS Food Technology Pty Ltd, providing scientific and technical solutions to the food industry. Ajay has acquired a stockpile of #TipsandTricksoftheTrade throughout his career, which have contributed to his success.

“It is very important about giving young professionals in the auditing arena coming through the ranks the correct tips and tricks of the trade as well as correct advice, so that they are fully aware of how to overcome tricky situations if they ever encounter something similar,” said Ajay. “Every auditor will face some sort of a challenge during their career.”

Ajay described auditing as “an art”, making it imperative for the auditor to gather objective evidence during the audit process to ensure that that the audit is performed effectively and efficiently.

“The auditor never has sufficient time to cover all the elements they would like to, and good time management is critical to the success of an audit,” he continued.

“Always remember that an audit is a snapshot.  Start with a brief tour of the factory if you are new to the site commencing with the raw materials and concluding where the finished goods are dispatched.  This tour is not a fact-finding exercise but to give you a good feel of the operation being audited.”

When narrowing it down to his most crucial tip for the profession, Ajay said that “always remain calm” is number one.

“There will be times when the auditee will try and challenge you, particularly if you are new to the profession and it is evident to them or if they are stressed about any issues that may arise from the audit,” added Ajay.

“Always remain calm and answer any questions that they may have and emphasize the fact that you are there to conduct the audit as per the standard, and always back up your findings with good independent reasoning to avoid conflict of interest.”

Ajay said that he has experienced this himself on several occasions and has overcome it by reasoning with the auditee while also emphasizing that the overall goal of the audit is to improve their systems.

“Once you do this, you will notice that they will start to shift to your way of thinking, and this is one way to win them over,” he continued. “Once they understand your reasoning, you’ll gain their trust and respect.”

“Whenever I am challenged, I tend to draw on my past experiences, and also when I’ve witnessed other auditors in how they approach a similar situation.  One always learns from other auditors, particularly when new to the auditing world,” Ajay concluded.

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