A great audit delivers an objective assessment of your business accounts and your current business circumstances. When your audit gives you peace of mind from knowing your financial reporting is accurate, you have robust internal controls and are aware of and have minimised potential fraud, it’s a great audit.
How will your business benefit from an external audit?
Confidence. It is all about confidence. Many small to medium businesses see limited value in paying for an external audit, simply because they are directly involved in their company’s finances and are confident in the quality of reporting. However, many still chose to be audited to share this confidence with external parties such as creditors and potential clients – if your accounts are in good order, a high-quality audit can be one of the best ways to demonstrate your true financial position. And if you are a company where there is separation of management and ownership, then it is imperative that you are audited for the peace of mind.
How to choose a great auditor
The best way to ensure a high quality audit is engage a firm that already knows or will quickly get to know your company, and one which will continue to keep itself immersed in your business going forwards. The size of firm does not matter; time and time again it has been proven that it is not necessarily true that a larger firm provides a higher-quality audit and equally, the cheapest audit is not necessarily the best option. Low fees, in particular, can signal the possibility that the firm is not realistically attuned to the complexities of the client company’s business or industry.
What is important is that you can hold frank, ongoing conversations about your business and the auditing firm can keep you up-to-date about the latest financial matters relating to your industry.
It is also important to be aware that an audit will disrupt your company’s normal workflow. This means that in addition to the fees charged there are internal costs from lost productivity, including the time spent in preparing for the audit—preparing schedules, pulling documentation, being interviewed, etc. When your auditor understands your company and you trust them implicitly, these costs can be drastically reduced by giving them direct access to your online accounting systems, which will also streamline the audit and minimise disruption.
Finding a high-quality auditing firm and building a successful long-term relationship demands prudent consideration. Here are 6 points to consider to ensure you engage the best auditor for your company;
6 Points to Consider to Ensure you Engage the Best Auditor for your Company
- Spend time with the auditing firm to understand the company culture and values
Does the company understand your industry and do you feel an affinity with them? Are you a valued client or just making up the cash flow? You are going to be trusting your auditor with the company’s innermost processes, accounts and future plans and you have to be entirely comfortable with that. It’s a good idea to obtain testimonials to back up your instincts.
- Question if they are vetting you carefully
High-quality accounting firms are selective about their clients because they know that their reputation is affected by the company they keep. You should be asked about your company’s financial strength, reputation, accounting policies and practices, management character, and business model as well as your products or services, competitors, and industry. Your auditor should also ensure that there is no conflict of interest.
- Ensure they use the best auditing standards, tools, and technologies
High-quality accounting firms have clearly stated standards and utilise robust audit tools and technologies to make sure they always provide a high standard of service.
- Meet the team
Ask which partners and staff will be assigned to your company and check out their experience. Ensure that they are ethically sound, good communicators, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. Also look at their training and find out if the firm offers opportunities to trainees – this often shows that they are invested in helping others to learn and grow.
- Are the firm’s audits efficient and effective?
How an audit is conducted is as important as the final result. When selecting an accounting firm for your company’s audit, be sure to ask questions about the nuts and bolts of the job. Who will lead it? How will the audit be scoped? How will the team be supervised? How will the final reporting be presented and how will they ensure insightful, open, and honest two-way communication throughout.
- An ongoing relationship is key. Look for a firm that is willing to invest time into your business and be your audit partner into the future.
HB Accountants in Hertfordshire
If you would like to learn more about the audit team at HB Accountants in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire and discover how they can give you real confidence in the future of your business, then contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re accountants for business and we are here to help you grow.
HB Accountants are here to help: giving you access to experienced accountants and useful information and support no matter your business size or sector. If you would like a no obligation discussion about how we can help you and your business, please feel free to contact the team on 01992 444466. We’re accountants for business and we’re here to help you grow.
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The information contained above is for general guidance purposes only. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, please note that each individual has different circumstances and it is essential that you seek appropriate professional advice before you act on any of the information contained herein. HB Accountants can accept no liability for any errors or omission or for any person acting on or refraining from acting on the information provided in the above