posted February 3, 2016

How to Prepare for an Audit (and Relieve Stress)

by Matthew Miller, CPA, Staff Associate II

It seems to arrive too quickly every year – the time to get ready for your next audit and respond to your auditor’s preliminary requests.This list provides some steps that can be followed to prepare for this experience and relieve some stress during your audit.

Be Available. Understand when your audit will occur and plan accordingly. Avoid scheduling vacations during scheduled fieldwork.Auditors ask questions, sometimes a lot of questions. By ensuring availability to answer your auditors’ questions as they occur, you shouldn’t require a large chunk of time at once to respond. A few minutes here and there may be inconvenient, but, in the long run, it will make the audit finish more quickly if there aren’t any outstanding questions.You can then get back to your normal duties rather than dealing with follow-up questions that couldn’t be resolved during your audit team’s site visit.

Be Organized. As an auditor, the best thing to see when examining documentation is organization. Organized documentation makes the audit process run more smoothly. Having the ability to locate the necessary items or information in a folder of supporting documentation allows the auditor to review these items more quickly and ask less questions.

Locate Documents Before Auditors Arrive. The timing of the audit should not be a surprise to you or your organization.Your audit team will reach out and begin making requests at least a couple weeks in advance. You can take advantage of this time by preparing and gathering documentation gradually as time permits.This allows you and your staff to prepare for the site visit without a large impact on the normal operations leading up to or during the audit.

Why? Auditors send requests in advance for a reason. With the documentation available as soon as the audit team arrives, they can complete the site visit with less impact on your operations.Advance preparation of documentation also increases productivity and decreases the number of interruptions to client staff’s normal job duties to ask about the needed information.While this preparation does streamline the audit process, it is still expected that some items may not available ahead of time or the auditors may identify additional information needed during their review of the prepared documentation.Therefore, the availability and organization of you and your staff are crucial to ensuring that you can respond efficiently to any requests during the site visit.

There are only three steps listed above, and they don’t seem to be surprises in the preparation process. But they can make a big impact on the efficiency of an audit and the amount of work that is required during the audit team’s visit. Being available, being organized, and having documentation ready and available will not only put smiles on your audit team’s faces, but it will ensure that your own experience during the audit is less stressful.

The content of these pages is for general information purposes only and does not constitute advice. Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C. tries to provide content that is true and accurate as of the date of writing; however, we give no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of any of the contents.