Finance News & Insights

Yikes, the auditors are here! Steps to take to smooth the process

As you well know, audits can be real-life nightmares. Here’s some help on what to do if you become the victim of a surprise visit.

With a little strategy, you can mitigate the horrors.

Secrets to audit success

Here’s what you and your team can do to ease the next audit:

1. Make sure the receptionist knows what to do. This is especially important if no one’s immediately available to take the reins the first time the auditor comes knocking.

Decide ahead of time: Do you want them to stay in the lobby, or is there an empty office you can put them in?

2. Keep the auditors close by. You don’t want auditors snooping around. If possible, set them up near Finance — preferably in a closed room. Ideally, these locations should be close to a bathroom and a break room.

3. Don’t make them too uncomfortable or comfortable. Sure, you want the auditors out of the office ASAP. But that doesn’t mean you need to give them the broken folding chairs from the annex.

But you also shouldn’t spoil them. Case in point: One accountant we know made the mistake of being so hospitable that the auditors actually started auditing other companies from the office they were given!

4. Remember that you run the show. Auditors can be pushy, so stand your ground. If you limit the people and information they come in contact with, the audit will end sooner.

Ask them when they expect to finish. Hold them to it.

When it comes to meetings, tell them you’ll only schedule one after they’ve proposed a meeting agenda – and the agenda needs to be in the form of the questions they’ll ask.

It meetings occur, hold them standing up so they’re quicker.

Let them know that you expect a copy of all audit work papers when they are done. They might protest, but you’re entitled to them.

Info: Adapted from National Seminars Training’s Sales and Use Tax Seminar Booklet

 

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