Tips for an Efficient Audit– January 21, 2014 by Pat Piteo

An Auditor’s Wish List

I often speak at our firm’s annual CPE event to give clients an update on changes in the accounting industry. I also use the opportunity to go over what I call my “auditor’s wish list.” This is my list of items that clients can do prior to and during an audit or review that will make the process smoother, more efficient and less burdensome for CPAs and their clients. Consider these points before your next audit or review:

  • Schedule a planning meeting.
  • Request a list of information that will be required of your staff (and dates required).
  • Make sure all significant accounts have been reconciled and analyzed, any adjustments identified and all requested information prepared.
  • Ensure books are closed and the final trial balance is prepared with all adjusting entries posted prior to the audit or review start date.
  • Communicate with your auditors how you prefer to handle open items, follow-up requests, etc.
  • Schedule available time for when auditors are onsite. We will need to ask you additional questions during the audit to finish the fieldwork.
  • Communicate expectations as to timing of draft financials, including any meetings, or bank or other user deadlines.
  • Throughout the audit process, communicate any requests you have for improvements on your auditor’s end.
  • Identify and discuss any changes, new programs and significant events with your accountants during the year or as part of the planning meeting.
  • Understand the timing and review constraints of your auditors.

Meeting deadlines is an important part of the audit or review process. But producing a quality product is just as important to us. We strive to exceed our own high standards when it comes to quality as well as those defined by the AICPA, Ohio Accountancy Board and users of the financial statements. To maintain that level of quality, we employ a rigorous process that includes multiple levels of review, from the staff and manager assigned to fieldwork through the technical partner who remains separate from the main engagement team and provides a final objective review to ensure the report is technically accurate. All significant changes made during the process must run through the entire approval process before draft documents can be released to the client. So I tell clients to communicate realistic draft deadlines from the start so we can schedule our engagement to both meet your required deadlines and our robust internal quality controls.

Adhering to these tips prior to and throughout the process should make your next audit or review experience a much less stressful one!

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