It is no secret when it comes time for your annual audit, there is a lot to get done in a short amount of time. We are well aware of how stressful and time consuming this can be – which is why we want to provide you with some tips and advice so the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Plan Ahead and Be Organized
We recommend keeping schedules and reconciliations updated and organized throughout the year in order to minimize stress and time spent gathering these items when your year-end audit rolls around. Your auditors should be reaching out to you in advance with their requests. It is also important to stay up to date on accounting standards that affect your industry and, if you have questions, your auditors can help you with. Open communication and contact with your auditors throughout the year is important, especially as significant, or unexpected circumstances arise. Keeping in contact throughout the year can prevent a big headache later on. After books are closed for the year, start dividing the work among your team to start uploading documents requested. The sooner your auditors get this information, the better.
Do not be afraid to talk to your auditors about ways you think a process could be more efficient or ask for advice. Learn from the past and improve these processes. If there is an area that your team struggles with every year, take time to have a conversation about how to make it smoother the next year. Auditors are always trying to tweak things to make them as efficient as possible and will be happy to assist you.
Make a timeline
Set a timeline and specific responsibilities for your team members and hold them accountable. This includes due dates for when initial audit requests should be provided, as well as timely responses to questions or providing testing support to the auditors. The main cause for delays in audits is timeliness. When agreeing to a fieldwork date, it is vital to provide the auditors the information they need to start the audit. This includes financial statement drafts, detailed schedules and any other workpapers or items requested. The pickup and put down that comes from requests not being fulfilled by fieldwork results in extra time and could lead to additional costs for the audit.
Review your work
Before sending schedules to auditors, ensure they reconcile to the trial balance you provided. If there are differences, investigate them before-hand. There are lots of little mistakes that you can catch by doing this that will save time down the road.
After everyone has had a second to reflect on the audit, but while the information is still fresh, take the time to talk to your team. Figure out what went well and what did not and discuss any ideas to improve for the following year. Additionally, do the same with your auditors as it will be helpful for them to know your thoughts when they hold their own post audit discussion.
At the end of the day we all have the same goal in mind: an efficient and effective audit. We’re here to help. Contact your Henry+Horne audit professional with any questions.