By Chad Kisner
It’s just barely a new year, not even a month has passed upon 2012, and I’m sure it’s safe to say many of us have quickly returned to a busy schedule of work, family, activities, etc. Oh, how quickly life seems to return to “normal” when the holidays are over and things turn, well, back to “normal.” So, how’s this “normal” January going for you as you prepare for your annual audit (or for some on a fiscal year, consider this your mid-year check-up)? Are you more prepared for this audit than the last, or have you closed your year in just the “normal” way you’ve always done it? Have you looked for possible improvements you can make to help your audit go more smoothly? Have you called or e-mailed your audit team to let them know of something very different in this year’s books?
The audit process is always based upon risk, and there is a lot of risk out there within a client’s books and situations. So, as a result, auditors are always asking about controls, more specifically internal controls, and if the auditor is asking the right questions, they’re probably asking about the internal controls over those risky areas.
You want your audit to go smoothly – you know, no adjustments and not a single comment to report to the board, right?
If you answered yes, then begin the process by doing a little reflection on your books for the past year and think about all the things that are different than in the past. More than you probably thought, right? Now, once you’ve made a good list, give your audit partner or manager a call and share with them all the things you’ve thought about and any concerns you have.
That’s pretty easy, but you would be surprised how much help you just provided! Since as I mentioned audits are based on risk, you just helped the auditor know where you see some risk, which makes their assessment just a little bit easier. Not only that, hopefully you were able to give them some insight into what you’ve done to make sure those risky things have been handled to the best of your ability (i.e., the exercise of internal controls). So, do a little reflection and see what you come up with – you may be surprised, but if you share that information, then your auditors won’t be.