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Select the Right Accounting Firm - Tips for a Smooth Audit

May 21, 2012

Your audit can be a positive experience with the right Public Accounting Firm.

Your audit can be a positive experience with the right Public Accounting Firm. Select an accounting firm that with you so that your next audit will be a smooth one. Below are nine tips to help you get the most benefit from your audit.

  1. Capabilities. Select an accounting firm that has the size and ability to meet your needs today but will also help your company grow and achieve your goals.
  2. Communication. Prepare and submit your financial statements by your deadline. Communicate with the auditor prior to year end about the desired due date for financial statements to help determine when fieldwork should occur.
  3. Strategy. During the planning phase of the audit, discuss any issues or difficulties encountered in the previous year’s audit and develop a strategy to help avoid a similar situation.
  4. Prepare. If not provided, request from the auditor a listing of schedules, documents and reports that they will need. This will allow you to gather the information when you have time prior to fieldwork.
  5. Schedule. Prior to the commencement of fieldwork, all schedules and analysis should be completed and ready to be provided to the auditors.
  6. Technology. Most accounting firms are utilizing software to have paperless documentation. Provide schedules and reports electronically whenever possible. This will allow the auditor to see the formulas used and gain a better understanding of the analysis provided, which should decrease the number of questions they have.
  7. Think ahead. Inquire if you can provide any reports in advance that the auditor can use to make selections for detailed testing. They may require additional support that needs to be pulled and advance preparation will help reduce the amount of time you and your staff will need to devote to the audit during fieldwork.
  8. Support the same goal. Throughout the year, if unusual situations or transactions occur, communicate those situations to the auditor and work together to determine the appropriate treatment or solution.
  9. Experience. Tap into the experience of your auditor. By requesting a list of areas for improvement and best practices, your auditor can help your business be the best in your industry. The suggestions for improvement should not be taken as a negative reflection of the company, but rather as a way to improve a process either through efficiencies or increased internal controls.

Following these tips will help make your next audit a smooth one. The three keys to getting the most out of an audit are 1) communication throughout the year, 2) proper planning and preparation and 3) leverage the knowledge and experience the auditor has and analyze their recommendations to improve your company.

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