Oh what a wonderful time of year. There’s snow on the ground, a chill in the air, and your conference room is full of auditors. Besides trying to close March, you’ve got a special project to complete, a new hire to train, and a board meeting to prepare reports for. The audit needs to fit in with all of this and it’s in everyone’s best interest to get it done as soon as possible. But how can you streamline an audit? Is it even possible?
This article can’t pull files or finish reconciliations, but hopefully it will give you some ideas that may make the audit much easier for you and your staff. So what are these techniques or approaches that could make the audit run and wrap up as efficiently as possible? Instead of a list, which you see enough of from auditors, I’ve got a couple stories for you. And if you don’t like these stories, remember that if I were any good at writing, I’d be finishing my next bestselling mystery novel and not writing a blog about the audit process. But here I am and hopefully you can pull something from them that will help streamline your audit.
One summer, a client of mine decided to buy another company to expand into a new part of the United States. I thought to myself, awesome, my client is growing! Then I thought to myself, I’m going to have to audit this. Well, most of what I’d need is done when the acquisition closes, so I asked my client to send over the closing documents and their workpapers, which were already done, and we were able to get the testing out of the way before the end of the year. There were smiles all around.
Another one of my clients had been growing substantially over the last few years. With this growth came a larger volume of work to audit and more people included in the audit process. This particular client decided it’d be best to meet at the start of each day for 15 minutes. This way, they could focus on completing anything urgent that came out of that meeting and we could make sure we answered any questions they may have right away instead of going back and forth via email. It took a little extra time, but it worked well because it forced us to stay on top of what was open, and it also eliminated any miscommunication that can arise with emails or electronic lists.
There’s plenty more where those came from, but if you made it this far you’ve probably had enough, so I’ll wrap this up. Our goal is to make the audit process as easy as possible. I’ve never come across anything that works perfectly for every client and every situation, and that’s why being able to put ourselves in your shoes and think about the audit from your perspective has helped us make audits run smoother. Tailoring our approach to you is key to streamlining the audit – one size does not fit all. Will an audit ever run to where it seems like we’re not even there? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.
Carlin Culbertson is a Senior Manager in Meaden & Moore’s Assurance Services Group. With 10 years in public accounting, Carlin has extensive auditing experience serving a wide variety of clients in various industries. He’s responsible for planning, executing, and managing audits and reviews of large privately held companies and small publicly held companies, with a focus on providing an exceptional client experience and adding value outside of the assurance work. In addition, Carlin serves as a mentor and role model for our staff and conducts training programs to aid in their development.