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October 19, 2021

Basic Audit Principles & Code of Conduct


When tasked with performing an audit or review, it is important to understand your part in the process, comply with the basic audit principles and perform your duties with the highest level of professionalism. Respect is earned, not automatically “given,” after achieving a credential such as “Certified Healthcare Auditor” which has been offered by the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance since 2004.

Follow the Basic Audit Principles

The principles listed below are taken from ASQ (American Society for Quality).  The twenty principles are divided into four categories:

  1. Auditor Conduct
  2. Preparing
  3. Performing
  4. Reporting


  • Do not disclose auditee proprietary information to others.
  • Be honest and impartial by avoiding conflicts of interest.
  • When an unethical activity is observed, verify it, record it, and report it.
  • Protect auditee property entrusted to you.
  • Use knowledge and skills for the advancement of public welfare.


  • Ensure that sufficient resources are available to accomplish the purpose of the audit.
  • Verify that there is an established system/process to audit before the audit.
  • Assigned auditors must be competent/qualified.
  • Communicate agreed-upon information to the auditee, such as audit times, purpose, areas to be audited, and standards to be audited against.


  • Verify conformance to agreed-upon requirements (the rules). Auditors don’t determine auditee requirements.
  • Ensure that sufficient samples (records, product, processes, interviews, and so on) are taken to match the purpose and scope of the audit.
  • Stay within the agreed-upon scope unless the degree of risk necessitates other actions.
  • Samples must be random and representative unless specified objectives require otherwise.
  • Conformance and nonconformance must be verifiable and traceable.
  • Comply with auditee rules (safety, environmental, health, restricted areas, and so on).
  • Keep auditee informed of audit progress.


  • Report the results of the investigation truthfully and in a clear, correct, concise, and complete manner.
  • Communicate the importance of findings/nonconformities.
  • Ensure that results are traceable to requirements.
  • Do not take ownership of problems found.

Pearls of Wisdom From the Late General Colin Powell

General Colin Powell’s 13 Principles of Leadership

General Powel passed away on October 18, 2021. He is one of our great U.S. military leaders. This list of Principles of Leadership is simple, brief and worthy of remembering:

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done!
  5. Be careful what you choose.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Abide by the Code of Ethics and/or Code of Conduct

If you haven’t reviewed your organization’s expectation of professional conduct, then it is time to locate such information and read it carefully. Are you a credentialed member of the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance (AIHC)? If so, you are also expected to abide by our organization’s Code of Conduct, described below and located here on our website:  https://aihc-assn.org/code-of-conduct/

This Code is a guide to the ethical conduct expected of students and certified professionals of the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance, Inc. (AIHC). The Code also aims at informing the public of the principles to which health care compliance professionals are committed.

The health care industry operates in a heavily regulated environment with a variety of identifiable risk areas. In addition to the challenges associated with patient care, health care providers are subject to voluminous and at times complex sets of rules governing administrative operations. Over the last decade, risk associated with non-compliance has grown dramatically. Those serving in a position of compliance in a health care organization have assumed great responsibility and should be concerned with the manner in which they carry out their duty as a compliance professional.

Students and those certified through AIHC are viewed by employers and the public as compliance professionals. The very word professional implies that you are an expert. The following competencies are expected:

  1. Take action to satisfy the mission and vision of your organization.
  2. Influence others to do the right thing; you are serving as a role model.
  3. Work to achieve the highest standards of quality while being fiscally responsible.
  4. Become an expert in the skills and tools necessary to do your job.
  5. Always perform to the best of your abilities.
  6. Appreciate and support those you work with.
  7. Practice good manners and use proper etiquette at all times.
  8. Demonstrate high ethical and moral standards.
  9. Be honest and fair in all of your dealings with others.
  10. Respect and acknowledge the talents of your peers.
  11. Professionals are humble and generous in their praise of others.
  12. Professionals are pleasant even during trying times.
  13. Recognize any shortcomings you might have and begin working on your professional image.
  14. Obey the law.
  15. Keep your knowledge up to date through self-teaching and maintaining continuing education efforts.

In Conclusion, Remember –


Good leaders see excellence wherever and whenever it happens. Excellent leaders make certain all subordinates know the important roles they play. Look for everyday examples that occur under ordinary circumstances. Good leaders know that each person on the team is contributing in a small but important way to the business. A leader who sets a standard of “zero defects, no mistakes” is also saying, “Don’t take any chances. Don’t try anything you can’t already do perfectly, and for heaven’s sake, don’t try anything new.” Be the leader you know you can be. Empower subordinates to take initiative and be the subordinate leader who stands up and makes a difference.

Learn more about becoming a Lead Auditor by taking the online, (on-demand) Auditing for Compliance training program today!


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