Audits and inspections are carried out to verify that a certain set of standards, guidelines, rules, and norms are being met. Audits are carried out in greater depth than inspections, and they usually require a longer period of time. In contrast, inspections are less formal and can be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Despite the few similarities between the two, there are a number of important factors that make them distinct.
An inspection is when a facility, building, equipment, machinery, or even a process is being closely observed with the aim of verifying that it meets a certain set of standards. Audits are conducted in greater depth, and may include referring to past documentation and interviews with the users or workers of the equipment, system, or process.
Audits can also be seen as detective work, where auditors also frequently look for evidence that the system is in compliance with the set out standards.