Jun 1, 2016
Ann M. Cole CPA
Now that the initial preparations are complete and the needs list, or prepared by client (PBC) items, are ready, the auditors will arrive on site as scheduled during the planning phase. For the auditors to work as efficiently as possible be sure to have the documents and items requested ready for their review as soon as they arrive.
Your business may provide paper copies, but electronic copies of your items will be preferred. Most businesses find that putting the documents on a USB flash drive or in an accessible area on a network is the most efficient.
During the site visit, or fieldwork, the auditors will be asking questions of the business’ employees. It is important to have one designated audit contact within the business to assist in directing the flow of information to and from the auditors. If possible, the audit contact should introduce the auditors to the respective departments or personnel who are responsible for answering questions and providing information. For example, a business may want to designate a human relations employee that the auditors may use for payroll questions. Once fieldwork is complete and the auditors return to their office the reporting process will begin.
During the planning phase of the audit, the auditors and business should have clarified who will be drafting the financial statements. Once the audit has entered the reporting stage, it is important to understand the timeline for completion and the review of the report.
Audit reports must go through several reviews, both by the business and the audit partners in the audit firm, before they can be completed and issued. This phase takes time and while it may seem it should only take a few days to wrap up, it may take up to a few weeks. If a business is working against a deadline for its audit report they should allow for the time it takes to obtain the final report.