Best Practices for Security Guard Firm Audit Preparation

Sooner or later, every contract security firm gets audited for compliance. It may be the result of a security-related incident involving your staff, or it may just be luck of the draw. In this article we offer advice about how to best handle an impending security audit.

Your Guard Firm Got the Audit Letter. What Do You Do Next?

It finally came. An inspector from the state licensing authority wants to take a look at your personnel records to ensure all of your instructors and guards are in compliance. The audit letter should clearly state what triggered the audit and the associated business license number.

First, read the letter carefully and determine the cause for the audit. Is it the result of a specific officer-related incident, or a routine inspection? If for some reason the cause isn’t clear, call the inspector assigned to your case to clarify. Also, double check the business license number attached to the audit to make sure they have the right security guard firm.

Second, respond immediately. If you didn’t call to clarify the reason for the audit, now is the time to contact the inspector assigned to your case. Develop a friendly rapport. If the audit was triggered by an event or on-site violation, acknowledge the mistake and express a willingness to put safeguards in place to prevent re-occurrence. Clear up any misconceptions about the issue and confirm deadlines for submission of documentation, or the date and time when the inspector will arrive at your office to conduct the audit. Ask exactly which documents they will want to see.

Third, compile all the requested information and have it organized in a manner that makes it easy for the inspector to find what they're looking for. If it is a specific officer-related incident that is being scrutinized, you’ll need to show the following for each guard:

  • Proof of security education/training and course completion certificates
  • Proof of citizenship or right to work papers
  • Completed and clean state and federal background checks
  • Current license or Guard Card
  • Current firearms license (if applicable)
  • Documentation of instructor certifications that prove the guard(s) was trained by a licensed instructor(s)
  • Copy of the incident report and any witness statements (if applicable)

Finally, always be open and honest. Transparency is key as the investigator will uncover any violations if they exist; attempts to cover them up, falsify, or post-date compliance documentation will be discovered and only create animosity. Below are a few more ideas to help with your record keeping.

Best Practices for Security Guard Firm Audit Preparation

  • Records retention. Most states require security guard firms retain personnel and training records for a minimum of five (5) years. Licensing agencies reserve the right to conduct an audit of all registered employees past and present to determine compliance or to establish if an officer was certified at the time of an event. Do not delete personnel records upon termination for any reason.
  • Insurance certificate. Be prepared to show proof of general liability insurance meeting minimum state coverage standards.
  • Perform internal personnel audits twice/year. Don't wait for the audit letter to arrive to first learn you are missing critical documentation for multiple employees. Examine your employee database every six months to ensure all employees remain in compliance, and their information is updated, current, and accessible on demand.
  • Run interim background checks on all current officers as they approach license renewal. If an employee had a charge or conviction brought against them that would disqualify them from working as a security guard since their last renewal and they continued to be assigned to posts, your firm could face liability on behalf of the guard’s actions.
  • Use a centralized personnel records platform to digitally store all employee training histories, and certificates of completion, like the one from Defencify.

The Defencify online training platform provides subscribers with access to a secure cloud-based records portal at no additional cost. This service stores all critical employee training records for compliance and audit purposes for each Defencify client – indefinitely. Every Defencify client has secure visibility into the activities and status of every security officer on its staff – past and present. Instantly access any and all training records and print a complete, organized set of documents for the inspector on demand.

Need a little more guidance on the triggers for a security audit, what the inspectors will be looking for, and which documents to store to compliance purposes? Visit us at and download our free whitepaper on preparing for a security audit. It contains a sample personnel file content checklist for collecting the necessary information on all employees to streamline your compliance policies and record keeping tasks.

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