Improving audit quality has been in the news lately, and many firms are looking for ways to get ahead of this important issue. A recent whitepaper featuring Withum’s Jim Bourke outlines 6 Habits of Highly Effective Auditors. In it, the authors discuss best practices for improving audit quality as well as how technology can help. Before you can get started on new habits, though, identify and eliminate these common mistakes:
Relying on New Hire Training
Firms that think of training as something you provide to new hires will find themselves at a disadvantage. Training must be ongoing, so staff can continue to build their skills and grow. Without focusing on staff engagement, firms will find themselves struggling to retain key talent.
Ignoring Crucial Expertise
If a partner was responsible for bringing the client to the firm, then the partner should also be involved in every engagement afterwards. A partner’s deep understanding of the client and industry can play an important role in an audit. Partner involvement can be especially useful in the early stages of an engagement, as well as keeping in touch with the client throughout the year.
Improvising instead of Standardizing
Audits have a lot of moving parts. Mistakes are more likely when the processes are ad-hoc and require a lot of manual work. A standardized process, with binder and workpaper templates that include automated linkages provides consistency and saves time.
Reviewing after the Work is Done
Once your audit staff is back in the office, any questions or problems are harder to address. Real-time reviews allow staff to deal with these issues while they’re still in the field and adjust on the fly if necessary.
Starting before the Client is Ready
Sending a team to a client too soon can have a major impact on efficiency and ultimately profitability. Your firm should have client readiness policies, get as much work done in the office as possible, and know when to leave the field.
Using Old Tools
We have access to more data now than ever before. Processing all that information can be difficult without the right tools. Automation and data analysis tools will become more and more important as firms look at improving audit quality.
Improving audit quality will be vital for audit practices in the coming years. Download the whitepaper, 6 Habits of Highly Successful Auditors, to learn how your firm can get started.