Leverage the expertise of audit experts in order to successfully manage an audit process.
Do you have a relatively new staff or a staff without much experience in managing an audit? If many of your employees / team members are new to the audit process, outside consultants can be a great resource to guide your team through the audit process. Audit consultants can inform them of what to expect and what types of materials to prepare. Choosing the right consultancy means gaining a trusted partner throughout the process by answering questions and assisting with the extra workload during the process.
It is important for a company to understand the importance of participating in an audit on a regular basis, and at the same time maintaining a reasonable level of accountability for normal operations. Due to the high level of effort it takes to complete a financial audit and the strain it can put on a finance and accounting team, this is no easy task.
Benefits of performing a financial audit
- To inform investors and shareholders. The audited financials provide outside stakeholders (, who may not be involved in day-to-day operations and may not have first-hand knowledge,) information about the health of the company without an audit. If they do receive information via board meetings or another medium, an audit can serve as a trusted second opinion or confirmation of management reporting.
- To review internal controls. Most audits include internal control testing and review, in addition to financials. This provides confidence to management that controls are working correctly and financials are correct.
- To protect a company’s reputation. An audit can serve as a review of a company’s records and employees’ actions to ensure that all procedures are in line with expectations and that there are no deceptive actions being taken.
There are also many more benefits of performing regular audits for a company. Share your top reasons in the comments section.
Downsides of performing an audit
Despite the many reasons an audit is beneficial to a company, there are also at least as many reasons a finance and accounting team might dread the process. The audit process can put quite a strain on the team due to the extra time spent gathering document requests, answering questions, working with auditors, etc. This can leave employees with less time and attention to give to their regular responsibilities, in addition to creating an over worked staff.
Whether an audit is being performed as a voluntary financial health measure, or as a mandatory compliance response, it is an arduous process. Is your team ready for the challenge?
Depending on the size of the internal team and the ability of that team to absorb the additional responsibilities stemming from conducting an audit, a good option may be to utilize some outside help. Partnering with the right consultancy will prepare your team and processes pre-audit (to ensure the audit runs smoothly), and will absorb the additional responsibilities driven by the audit itself. What has your experience been with conducting an audit?