3 Ways to Prepare for Your Audit

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As we step into a new year, it is time to begin preparations for your upcoming audit. Here are 3 ways to make the experience as smooth as possible.

1. Communicate – While communication is always important, it is especially crucial to establish expectations early with the auditors.  Oftentimes, the auditors will contact the client with a list of items they need before arriving at the business.  Do not be afraid to ask questions in order to clarify their requests.  If you are not sure of their request or what is trying to be accomplished, discussing with the auditor may help you find a better source of or more valuable information for them. This best practice saves both parties time and effort expediting the audit process.  At your request, auditors can sometimes prepare templates in a format that is easy for you to fill out and them to understand.

2. Delegate – It is easy for management to become overwhelmed by the initial list of auditor requests. Just remember, you are not in this alone! Assign team members to tackle different parts of the list.  Utilize all of your resources and spread out the workload so not to overwhelm any one person.  Furthermore, set timelines for each request delegated to others in order to keep them on track and help them with juggling their day-to-day activities.
3. Reflect- One way to save a lot of time in the long run is to reflect on the past year’s activity. Has there been any change in the industry or company? Were there any unusual situations that required significant estimates or variances from the prior year? Giving your auditor a heads up on these types of items can help them research and plan for the right course of action.  This prevents any “surprises” during the audit that could require additional disclosure. Also, look back at schedules that you were asked to prepare last year. Chances are you will need them again.

Though overwhelming at first, the stress that can come with an audit can be greatly reduced with the steps mentioned above. Remember that the auditor should always be there to assist you throughout the audit process to ensure an efficient and beneficial experience.

Andrew Gill