In our blog post on service, we discussed how auditors help organizations navigate and comply with complex regulations, as well as improve internal accounting practices.
Choosing a responsible auditor means choosing one who cares about offering excellent customer service. Once you’re sure the auditor you’re considering cares about your organization, you should find out how stable their firm is by researching three key factors: the firm’s ethics, reputation, and staffing.
Signs of solid staffing
If you want a large accounting firm to serve your organization, staffing practices are especially important because you may not always have the same auditor from year to year. Keep this tradeoff and others in mind if you’re considering both large and small CPA firms; make sure each type of firm follows through on their promises.
Be aware of staff turnover — while some turnover is reasonable, especially for large firms, seeing new staff members every year could be a red flag.
Turnover can create additional costs within the accounting firm that get passed along to you, not to mention the hassle of re-explaining details to every new auditor who works on your audit. Request that your auditing firm has the same team working on your account each year to ensure a smoother process, better insight on improvement, and fewer interruptions.
Amount of support
Have you had to train new auditors each year because they come to the table unprepared? You should never have to train auditors to do their job. Of course, helping your auditor understand your organization is reasonable, but anything beyond this should cause concern.
Auditors should be knowledgeable, engaged, and prepared to help you navigate the complexities that arise during your audit. If you feel they’re not, ask your auditor direct questions — like “how many years have you been performing audits?” — and consider requesting a different auditor from the firm so training costs don’t get passed along to you.
Some auditing firms hire sales teams to get your business, then switch to an entirely different group of people who perform the service. This lack of consistency adds up to additional costs as you redefine relationships and compromise between sales promises and actual service.
You deserve to meet the auditor you will eventually work with before you sign an engagement letter. If this isn’t possible for other, legitimate reasons, ask questions like “when will I meet the team who will service the account?” and “who will be my point of contact?” to understand the working relationship.
Staffing a relationship
Staffing is a key factor in keeping an auditing relationship stable and simple. A quality CPA firm should care enough about your organization to assign consistent staff members to your account.
We want you to be well-informed and well-prepared when choosing an auditor so you don’t make a costly mistake.