Bringing you some of the best ideas we’ve heard about from our customers, our industry contacts (and ourselves) to conduct innovative audits during 2020 and beyond!
I know we aren’t through the year yet, but what a year 2020 has already been! I saw a great photo online recently that summed it up for me – in it was a sandwich board that read:
Can we all agree that in 2015 not a single person got the answer correct to: ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?’
We have all been forced to change how we live and work, and this has been difficult for many in so many ways. For the audit profession, it has proven to be a tricky 30 June audit season, as many client sites were suddenly inaccessible, audit teams were dispersed, getting the appropriate audit evidence was hard, deadlines loomed… it’s been rough!
But some great things have come from this period too – auditors have been forced to ‘think outside the square’ and be innovative in how they get their audits done, and I have been truly inspired to hear some of the fantastic ideas that our customers have come up with to get their audits done. So much so that I want to share a few, in case they can help you too!
Record online meetings
If you are holding online meetings with your clients, consider recording them – most online meeting platforms include this option, or you can screen capture with other software if yours doesn’t.
This means you can sit back and concentrate on the conversation, without the need to try and take detailed minutes – you can then either attach the recording of the meeting to your file as evidence, or re-watch it at a more convenient time and write minutes. Or here is a better idea I heard from a clever client – use software to transcribe the meeting for you – brilliant!
Tip: if you record meetings, be sure to ask your clients for permission first and confirm it is only for internal and audit documentation purposes.
Request client introductions, site tours and stocktake check ins using video calls
This is especially important for new customers. As you may not be able to visit their site, be sure to request that meetings are still held face-to-face using an online platform. To give you context, be sure to also ask for a site walkthrough to be done online, especially for clients who have warehouses or assets that you would normally inspect.
Tip: And make sure that they show you everything you need to see – office and records management, stock storage, security measures, etc.
Schedule regular client catch ups
As being onsite with your clients is not always possible this audit season, be sure to schedule regular catch ups with key client contacts. This might sound like an obvious suggestion, but I emphasise the ‘regularly’ here – as often as daily in some cases. That might sound overboard, but think back to when you used to be at a client’s office – how often did you have an impromptu chat with them, or go and ask them just 1 or 2 questions in order to tick off an area of the file?
Plus, there is the added implication of fraud to be aware of this year – we have heard of many more cases of this being found, so regularly speaking to key client contacts will hopefully allow you to corroborate explanations provided and obtain more reliable evidence.
Tip: This approach also reduces the email traffic and allows you to get responses to questions as they come up, rather than having to wait for an email response or for the meeting at the end of the week.
Hopefully, you’ve now got some more ideas for conducting innovative audits while you can’t physically go to a client site! If you’d like to share any great tips you & your team have discovered recently, drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org.
As 24 September is #AuditorProud day, I also wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate Caseware customers for their resilience and commitment to quality during this challenging year.
I am proud of the role that both myself and Caseware play in supporting you all in your profession, and I encourage you to stay in touch with us and look out for our communications in the coming months.
While you have been busy, so have we… Stay tuned for some exciting developments and releases from Caseware in the coming months!
Sarah Butler, Head of Audit & Accounting, Caseware Australia & New Zealand