In many instances, the term ‘audit’ carries a negative connotation. Most people visualize auditors as impersonable, number-crunching accountants with the main objective of digging up as much ‘dirt’ in your financial records as possible. However, not all audits and auditors are created the same! Ideally, the auditor-client relationship is one of open communication during all times of the year, which creates tremendous value for the client beyond the audit process.
In addition to the audit services performed, your auditor can provide your organization value, while still maintaining the independence paramount to the financial statement audit. The assessment of independence impairment is the auditor’s responsibility, so it never hurts to inquire about additional insights or services throughout the year.
Examples of when to reach out to your auditor during non-audit times:
- When faced with an unusual or complex accounting matter. For example: the accounting treatment of Paycheck Protection Program funds received and the accounting for the subsequent forgiveness of the debt. Addressing these matters before the beginning of the audit process will eliminate potential deficiencies and findings.
- When help is needed in interpreting new accounting guidance and its impact on your organization.
- When experiencing turnover with top management or accounting staff.
- When there are significant changes to your organization (new programs developed, major grants are awarded, new debt is obtained, etc.).
- When there is a need for non-attest services such as tax return preparation, advisory services, and bookkeeping and other accounting assistance.
The above list of examples is not all-inclusive. There are likely many more scenarios you will encounter in which you will question whether to contact your auditor. As in the above matters, it is always best to be proactive than reactive. A proactive approach will result in an audit with improved efficiency, which in turn, leads to a quicker turn-around time and more timely information for financial statement users. Also, the increased audit efficiency cuts-down immensely on additional audit-related fees.
Forge Financial and Management Consulting is here to help whenever you may need it. We strive to add value for our clients beyond the audit and financial reporting package. Please do not hesitate to contact a Forge audit professional today.