Article written by:
Zach Berardi, CPA
When preparing to be audited, there are multiple workpapers, reports, documents and reconciliations to be organized. Whether arranging for your first audit, or gearing up for next year’s audit, there are a few things to be addressed that can improve the process. The following recommendations are an easy starting point that any accounting staff, manager or CFO can put into place to make audits smoother and more efficient for all parties involved.
- Preparation – While there is a lot to prepare for an audit, assigning ownership of certain financial statement areas and items on the information request list to members of the accounting team and providing them with a due date will allow for the audit to stay on track.
- Availability – Availability of key accounting staff is essential for an audit. Scheduling a couple of hours every day during fieldwork to work through requests and selections speeds up the documentation process and allows the auditors to work through audit areas quicker.
- Scheduling – Whether scheduling for inventory counts, a week of planning, or year-end fieldwork, it is important to ensure that all needed workpapers have been prepared and all key accounting staff are on board to help.
- Timeliness – The earlier auditors get information, the sooner the auditors can make selections and get the needed documentation. Even if this just means sending trial balances and a few workpapers before fieldwork, there is a substantial amount that can be done with this information.
- Communication – Clear communication before, during and after an audit will allow for no unrealistic expectations for either party. Also, if in the preparation of reports or workpapers it is unclear what is needed, be sure to clarify what is needed to avoid redoing work.
Through preparation, availability, scheduling, timeliness and communication, your company will be ready for a smooth audit experience. These steps are a good starting point to get your team ready for an audit. You and your team will find what works best for you as you move forward each year, but feel free to reach out to your advisors at GBQ with any questions or concerns about this process.