The audit from the inside.CPAs in business and industry, whether they work for small companies or huge conglomerates A Conglomerate is the term used to describe a large corporation that consists of diverse divisions. Conglomerate companies tend to be large multinational corporations with operations in multiple regions of the world. , sooner or later encounter the external auditors The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. . By carefully preparing for the annual audit, we have been able to spend less time with our auditors AUDITORS, practice. Persons lawfully appointed to examine and digest accounts referred to them, take down the evidence in writing, which may be lawfully offered in relation to such accounts, and prepare materials on which a decree or judgment may be made; and to report the whole, together , save on audit fees and also end up with an efficiently run audit. In addition, we've we've
Contraction of we have.
we've have found that by working smoothly with our auditors, the audit becomes a valuable service, not an onerous on·er·ous
1. Troublesome or oppressive; burdensome. See Synonyms at burdensome.
2. Law Entailing obligations that exceed advantages. annual event. This article lists techniques and procedures that will help your company's internal accounting staff experience a well-run, cost-efficient Adj. 1. cost-efficient - productive relative to the cost
efficient - being effective without wasting time or effort or expense; "an efficient production manager"; "efficient engines save gas" audit year after year. It is mainly for controllers, chief financial officers or others who are in charge of the audit at the client end, but any CPA (Computer Press Association, Landing, NJ) An earlier membership organization founded in 1983 that promoted excellence in computer journalism. Its annual awards honored outstanding examples in print, broadcast and electronic media. The CPA disbanded in 2000. in business and industry will find the tips and techniques useful.
1 PLANNING AS THE CORNERSTONE cornerstone
Ceremonial building block, dated or otherwise inscribed, usually placed in an outer wall of a building to commemorate its dedication. Often the stone is hollowed out to contain newspapers, photographs, or other documents reflecting current customs, with a view to
We call our auditor auditor n. an accountant who conducts an audit to verify the accuracy of the financial records and accounting practices of a business or government. A proper audit will point out deficiencies in accounting and other financial operations. and set the date for the preliminary planning and fieldwork field·work
1. A temporary military fortification erected in the field.
2. Work done or firsthand observations made in the field as opposed to that done or observed in a controlled environment.
3. . For any company, this date should fall about three months before your yearend, as soon as possible after the relevant financial statements are completed so the information is still fresh to you and your staff. We inform the auditors of the date of the statement on which they will be doing the preliminary fieldwork. For example, if your fiscal yearend is December December: see month. 31, you should use your September September: see month. 30 statements. If you can finish up those statements by October October: see month. 20, schedule the audit fieldwork to begin on October 27. At that point, ask the auditors to send you an audit schedule telling you when each stage of the audit will occur and listing all of the schedules, reports, minutes and other information they would like available for planning and the preliminary fieldwork.
At my company, interim audit needs include, for example, a listing of all additions and disposals of property, plant and equipment for the year January 1 through the date of the interim procedures and an expected price increase percentage for the inventory items purchased throughout the year.
During the week after the September 30 financial statements are released and before the auditors are due, you and your staff should gather all the data needed for the audit. If you do not get the audit schedule by October 20, ask the auditors to fax it to you immediately.
2 RALLYING THE TROOPS
As soon as we set the date for our preliminary audit, I send a memo to all of the staff who will be involved in the audit. I have them mark their calendars accordingly and tell them to make themselves available to the auditors during those dates. I explain they may have to work late during this period. Next, I follow up with a copy of the audit schedule: Each item needed for the audit is marked with the name of the responsible staff member and a due date -- usually the last working day before the audit is to begin. When they arrive on the premises, I give this annotated copy of the audit schedule to the auditors. I make sure to go over each line item the day before the audit is to begin to ensure that each person on my staff has completed his or her assigned as·sign
tr.v. as·signed, as·sign·ing, as·signs
1. To set apart for a particular purpose; designate: assigned a day for the inspection.
Some CPA firms use a software program, such as Accountants Trial Balance (ATB ATB Antibiotic
ATB All The Best
ATB Ability to Benefit
ATB André Tanneberger (musician)
ATB Across the Board
ATB Active Time Battle (roleplaying game)
ATB All Terrain Bike
ATB Alberta Treasury Branches ), which allows you to key in the trial balance. You can give it to the auditors on a disk or by e-mail. This saves your company money because it saves the auditor time. Most auditors have spreadsheets The following is a list of spreadsheets. Freeware/open source software
Right before the audit's start date, I have a brief meeting with all staff members who will be working with the auditors. I explain that audit requests get first priority; scheduling conflicts should be reported to me. I tell them to refer any questions they can't answer to me: As the audit coordinator, I run the audit for the company. Usually, the chief financial officer appoints the coordinator if there is no controller to direct the audit. Some companies have a general accounting manager or financial accounting manager who may be appropriate for the job. The audit coordinator should know every aspect of the audit and be able to answer all the external auditor's questions about internal controls, financial statements, company policy and procedures and any systems used by the company.
3 ARRIVAL OF THE AUDITORS FOR THE PRELIMINARY
The day before the preliminary audit is scheduled to start, I designate des·ig·nate
tr.v. des·ig·nat·ed, des·ig·nat·ing, des·ig·nates
1. To indicate or specify; point out.
2. To give a name or title to; characterize.
3. a room where the auditors can work. I have all of the materials the auditors requested in the preliminary audit schedule in this room. I include a completed financial package for the period they are auditing.
I have gotten the time the auditors need to do the preliminary fieldwork for my company down to about five working days. (This period will vary by company, since larger samples may be needed.) The sooner you answer the questions or furnish fur·nish
tr.v. fur·nished, fur·nish·ing, fur·nish·es
1. To equip with what is needed, especially to provide furniture for.
2. that extra schedule, the sooner the auditors can complete their fieldwork. Again, this saves the auditor time and your company money.
During the course of the audit fieldwork, the audit coordinator should have frequent informal "chats" with the audit senior or manager. I ask about the progress of the fieldwork, if they have had any problems with staff availability, if they have everything they need and whether they ran into any problems. For example, did the auditors get the names and addresses of the company's lawyers in order to send out the audit inquiries? Did they get an of the requested invoices? Were their any discrepancies between the general ledger General Ledger
A company's accounting records. This formal ledger contains all the financial accounts and statements of a business.
The ledger uses two columns: one records debits, the other has offsetting credits. and the backup provided?
Remember, the auditors are there to help you identify problems in your internal controls, accounting procedures, accounting methods and other areas where there may be a weakness in your system. They can be regarded as a tool to assist you to become better in your performance for the company. Don't feel threatened by the auditors or be afraid to argue a point or to give your point of view. Accounting often requires judgment. Convince them that your logic was sound. Once, for example, the auditors thought the allowance for bad debts at my company was too low. I was able to provide historical data that supported my number.
As soon as the preliminary fieldwork is done, have the audit senior or manager explain any problems or weaknesses that the audit team came across. After all, the purpose of an audit is to validate To prove something to be sound or logical. Also to certify conformance to a standard. Contrast with "verify," which means to prove something to be correct.
For example, data entry validity checking determines whether the data make sense (numbers fall within a range, numeric data your work. This will give you time to make any needed corrections before the actual yearend audit. Also, feel free to give the auditors feedback about how they performed during the audit. This helps them assess their performance as well. For example, if a member of the audit team keeps asking the same questions over and over, mention it to the audit senior. This wastes your time and prolongs the fieldwork.
4 THE REAL THING
If you have a December 31 yearend, you should set up a date with your auditors in late December or early January. At our company, we usually begin the audit in the second week in February and end in the third week. Fieldwork (the amount of time the auditors have to spend at my company) on my yearend audits is down to 10 days. Of course, this will vary by company size, but the goal is always to reduce it as much as possible.
Call the auditors to get the audit schedule for the yearend audit as soon as possible. Repeat the procedures for the preliminary audit. Of course, there are usually a lot more audit schedules for the yearend audit, so allow yourself two weeks between the completion of the preliminary yearend financial statements and the start date of the audit. (I never call my Financial statements "final" until after the audit has been completed.) Use the same types of informal "chats" during the yearend audit to determine the audit progress. You want to keep the audit timely. Stick to the audit schedule for the time you have allowed for fieldwork. In my case, that's 10 days. Be prepared, so you don't hold up the auditors.
When the auditors complete the fieldwork on the yearend audit, ask them for the adjusted final trial balance. This enables you to compare numbers and ensure that you have all the client and audit adjustments. Then prepare the final financial statement package for December 31 and release it by the end of February to management. The auditor's audit letter and condensed con·dense
v. con·densed, con·dens·ing, con·dens·es
1. To reduce the volume or compass of.
2. To make more concise; abridge or shorten.
a. statements are not usually released to our company until March, when the auditors meet with management to discuss the audit and present their concerns in their "management letter." For example, don't be afraid to tell the auditors that you believe you have appropriate internal controls in place for accounts payable. If your system is logical, it should be acceptable to your management and your auditors.
In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile , I am able to close my December ledger The principal book of accounts of a business enterprise in which all the daily transactions are entered under appropriate headings to reflect the debits and credits of each account. and start preparing January statements for management. By the time I get the auditors' December 31 audited statements, I am ready to start my February statements. By April, I am back to my pre-audit schedule with my monthly release dates and can look forward to several free months before thinking about next year's audit.
KEYS FOR SUCCESS
Four key points help the corporate CPA ensure a successful audit:
* Be available.
* Be cooperative.
* Be straightforward.
* Be prepared.
Your next audit will be a win-win situation -- for both the CPA firm and your company -- and everyone will come out less stressed and happier with the results and the fees.
New Statements Affect All Audits
The American Institute of CPAs auditing standards board In the United States, the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) is the senior technical committee designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to issue auditing, attestation, and quality control statements, standards and guidance to certified public recently issued two statements on auditing standards Statements on Auditing Standards, commonly abbreviated as SAS, provide guidance to external auditors on generally accepted auditing standards (abbreviated as GAAS) in regards to auditing an entity and issuing a report. and a statement on standards for attestation The act of attending the execution of a document and bearing witness to its authenticity, by signing one's name to it to affirm that it is genuine. The certification by a custodian of records that a copy of an original document is a true copy that is demonstrated by his or her engagements all companies should be aware of. SAS (1) (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, www.sas.com) A software company that specializes in data warehousing and decision support software based on the SAS System. Founded in 1976, SAS is one of the world's largest privately held software companies. See SAS System. no. 83 (and SSAE SSAE Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (auditing)
SSAE Stamped Self-Addressed Envelope
SSAE Standard South African English
SSAE Society Of Senior Aerospace Executives (Washington, DC) no. 7), Establishing an Understanding With the Client, and SAS no. 84, Communications Between Predecessor and Successor Auditors, can affect the way you work with current or future auditors.
For the texts of SAS no. 83 and SSAE no. 7, see Official Releases, page 103, and for an implementation article on the standards, see "Do We Understand Each Other?" page 53.
* COMPANIES THAT ARE PREPARED for their audits and can work smoothly with their auditors end up saving time and money.
* PLANNING IS IMPORTANT: Preliminary work should take place about three months before yearend.
* MAKE SURE YOUR STAFF UNDERSTANDS what is expected of them and knows when to go to the audit coordinator with questions.
* BE READY FOR THE AUDITORS: Have a room set up and requested materials available.
* STAY IN CLOSE CONTACT with the auditors, with informal chats during the audit process. Ask the manager or senior to discuss with you any problems at your company.
* DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED in·tim·i·date
tr.v. in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing, in·tim·i·dates
1. To make timid; fill with fear.
2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats. by the auditors. If you believe you are right, don't be afraid to argue the point.
Time Line for December 31 Yearend
Preliminary (interim) audit
9/28-10/1 Call auditors and schedule the date for the preliminary (or interim) audit to begin. Allow yourself about seven days after your scheduled release date for your September 30 financial statements -- assume 10/27 is the date scheduled.
10/20 Release of September 30 financial statements. If you have not received the preliminary audit schedule by this date, call the auditors and have them fax the schedule immediately.
10/20-10/21 Assign line items requested in audit memo and give due date of 10/24.
10/24 Ensure that all assigned schedules and reports have been received. Place in audit room. Remind employees that fieldwork begins on 10/27 and is scheduled to end on 10/31.
10/27 Preliminary (or interim) audit fieldwork begins.
10/31 Preliminary audit fieldwork ends.
12/15-12/31 Call auditors and schedule the time for your audit fieldwork. Allow yourself two weeks after you are scheduled to have the preliminary year end statements completed. Assume your release date is 1/31 and you have scheduled the fieldwork to be 2/16-2/28. (Note: the earlier you can schedule the audit, the better your chances are to have the audit when you want it and not when the auditors can schedule it. This is especially true with small to midsized companies.)
1/12-1/16 Request audit schedules from auditors and confirm audit fieldwork start date (2/16).
1/19 Assign each line item to an employee and distribute copies of the audit schedule. Remind employees to mark their calendars to be available between 2/16 and 2/28 for audit requirements. Give due date of 2/13.
1/31 Release preliminary 12/31 financial statements. Start preparing audit schedules. Follow up with staff. Remind everyone of 2/13 due date.
2/13 Assemble schedules and reports requested and place in audit room.
2/16 Audit fieldwork begins.
2/27 Audit fieldwork ends.