Audit Technology: Key to Firm Expansion and Survival

No such thing as static

When companies report their financial numbers on Wall Street, shareholders assume two outcomes; you’re either growing or shrinking. There’s no such thing as staying static. The same rings true for tax and accounting practices. Regardless of the desire to grow in their respective “universe”, firms owe it to themselves to keep pace with technology.  This is especially true in the area of audit technology.

Going where the business is

In decades past, small to large sized firms would stake out territorial boundaries and focus their offerings within that area.  The challenge of a competitor firm from across the region luring clients from your practice, was of little concern. However, with the introduction of the newest audit technology, firms are now finding competitor concerns from firms with no geographical limitations. To further complicate matters, business clients are expanding their locations abroad, making them nice targets for competitor firms, particularly in the area of audits.

The quality/value balance

In light of the risk of competing firms broadening their client target map, providing value is paramount. This is vital toward staying competitive in the audit space. Business clients expect it all; speed, accuracy, and ultra competitive price. Again, technology is often the difference maker in this realm.  The newest tools make quality audits a given, and with preparation times at break neck speeds.

Playing offense in this new world

Firms with a “glass half-empty” attitude toward how the latest audit technology is changing the industry will naturally take a defensive position. In comparison, firms embracing this new technology waste no time shifting to an offensive position, for their betterment.  Frost PLLC, of Little Rock, Arkansas is a prime example of such a firm.

Business is open!

Founded in 1974, Frost PLLC, has grown over the decades to a vibrant 150 member firm. With a focus on accounting work within the agricultural industry, they partnered with BDO Alliance USA to broaden their services. This positioned the firm to be a trusted adviser in not just their core areas, but other specialty areas. However, as the firm grew, staff and resources had to move where their business clients led them.  For some of the more “hands on” audit projects, this presented challenges to stay economically viable in the audit segment. This was not a revenue stream, that Frost PLLC was willing to concede so easily.

The need for speed and connections

Rob Gunther, Partner witnessed a technology transformation within the firm, as it sought to keep pace with their expanding clientele. With multiple locations working on an audit project at any given time, data organization and staff connectivity became vital to a quality end product. “We take our expertise to wherever our clients are, resulting in clients all over the country. Paperless technology and electronic tax returns are especially important to us, given our logistics, with regard to clients and our multiple offices.” explains Gunther.

Frost PLLC has long used CCH® ProSystem fx® Tax as their tax compliance engine, but decided to move completely to an integrated paperless tax and workflow system to help keep pace with their rapidly expanding client base. With respect to their audit workflow, CCH® ProSystem fx® Engagement was a logical implementation step, with CCH® Accounting Research Manager® soon to follow.  Gunther stated that embracing these top tier technology solutions had an immediate impact on audit quality and results. With regard to Engagement, “It was a big step forward; everything was in one place, in an electronic binder, and it was much more effective and efficient.” The research component was not to be ignored either. He continues, “The research tool offered robust, timely research, as partners felt it was important for staff members to be able to conduct their own research rather than leaning on manager or partner knowledge.”

No opportunity lost

In summary, the newest solutions in audit, provided a means for Frost PLLC to keep pace with their client’s expansion.  Specifically, being able to handle the most complex audits, regardless of locale, gave happy clients a greater sense of loyalty.

Consider the positives of jumping on the current audit technology bandwagon and how it can help your business. Don’t just imagine what these solutions can do, but witness it for yourself via a live demo of the industry’s #1 engagement solution, CCH® ProSystem fx® Engagement.  Better yet, explore our full Integrated Audit Approach solutions for answers to your audit challenges.

 

 

 

AUTHOR

Brandon Sims

All stories by: Brandon Sims