What should I do before an audit?
Businesses often either tender for contracts or put out contracts to tender — but don’t apply the same principles when it comes to statutory services like audit. When they do, there are some common mistakes that, if avoided, can save both time and money.
There are several important steps you should take to ensure you have the right audit firm, doing the right level of work, at the right time, for the right fee.
Why are you thinking of changing auditors?
If the answer to this question is “We have a three year-tender process”, you’re off to a bad start. Look at what works well and what does not work as well with your incumbent auditor and draw up a list of priorities.
Financial directors might be surprised to discover that headline cost is not necessarily the driving impetus for changing auditors. In our experience, the majority of potential new client meetings we attend stem from issues with service and client relationships. So it’s important to really think about why you’re looking to change auditors before you start the process.
Pitfalls to avoid when tendering for an auditor
An auditor that quotes a very low fee may lowball to get the work and then seek to charge for almost everything else separately. While a mid-range fee quote might include much of this work, showing that price isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to choosing an audit firm.
Auditors work in many different ways, and on occasion it can feel like your auditor isn’t so much working for you, but you’re beholden to your auditor. If you need flexibility in terms of scheduling or work methodology, be sure to factor this into your tender process.
Don’t assume that the audit firm you are considering has experience with either your industry or the software you use. The importance of industry knowledge varies between sectors, but is worth inquiring about. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimony from existing clients.
Auditors have a reputation of being grey men in grey suits, which is perhaps a little unfair in today’s world. This preconception also ignores the counterintuitive fact that as a service provider, accountants in general, and auditors in particular, have to rely on good interpersonal skills. Simply put, if you ever have that nagging feeling that your auditor is avoiding your calls, they are failing in one of their primary roles!
How Rayner Essex can help you
We provide statutory audit services for limited companies, charities and pension funds, in addition to other regulated assurance work. Rayner Essex offers a fixed point of contact, with either manager or partner always available to deal directly with you; we think the personal relationship is a keystone of the professional service that we offer.
We’re a flexible, forward-looking firm that can accommodate your needs into our planning and audit process to ensure that your audit is as smooth and trouble-free as possible.
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