7 Tips for a Successful Audit

03/01/2020

Contributed by Bridgepoint Consulting, an Addison Group Company

It’s crunch time! Another audit season is before us, and this time of year can be the most frantic time for business professionals. In my experience, I have found that a little preparation and organization can go a long way toward facilitating a successful audit process, minimizing audit adjustments and surprises, lowering your audit fees in the future, and getting more value out of the audit process.

Here are some helpful tips and best practices to ensure your process goes smoother than ever:

BE PREPARED – Request the Prepared by Client (“PBC”) list from your auditor at least a month in advance of the beginning of fieldwork. Whether this is your first or twentieth year with this auditor, the last thing you want is to be surprised by what is being asked. Also, make sure all the requests are clarified before you start work. Don’t assume you understand what is being requested and why. Ask the auditor for clarity if you’re unsure, and don’t be afraid to ask why something is being requested if you feel it’s unnecessary or not applicable. This can save both sides a lot of time.

ASSIGN WORK APPROPRIATELY – Any reconciliations/roll-forwards/supporting schedules should be owned by people that know they are responsible for that GL account/group of accounts. Many of the supporting items should’ve been completed as part of the year-end close process, so make sure everyone is clear on that. The last thing you want is work being overlooked, or worse, multiple people doing the same, and often conflicting, work.

START A DIGITAL DATA ROOM – Using a digital data room will allow you to share the PBC files, or leverage that of your auditor. It is also important to make sure everyone is clear on a consistent naming convention for files, so they are easy to find. Emails back and forth are a recipe for failure when trying to ensure that items don’t get lost or missed in the daily shuffle.

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