In the highly regulated affordable housing industry, we know you’re concerned about getting the most with your limited financial resources. Hiring an auditor to make sure your property stays compliant is no different; you care about the value for the money.
Given the importance of determining each CPA firm’s value, your request for proposal (RFP) is a powerful tool. When worded clearly and strategically, your audit RFP will let you know right away who’s worth your time and money.
We know creating or revising your detailed, personalized RFP may seem like a daunting task, but the effort will be worth it, since you’ll save time by receiving shorter, easily comparable responses every time you go out for bid.
What to Include in an Audit RFP
Audit RFPs are meant to help property managers compare CPA firms side-by-side. Yet in many of the RFPs we’ve received over the years, questions are open-ended, the evaluation process vague, and the sheer amount of requested information cumbersome.
These do’s and don’ts will help you focus your questions on what matters and keep responses short, saving you from having to read pages upon pages of hard-to-compare qualitative answers.
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- Make most (if not all) questions required. This will let you compare firms on all relevant information.
- Spend time designing the document. Use headings, bulleted lists, and short paragraphs to convey exactly what you need to see in a successful proposal.
- Ask what sets them apart. Firms that know their own value will save you time by evaluating themselves. Then you can use their response as a benchmark for the rest of their proposal.
- Repeat yourself. Too many RFPs are plagued by redundant questions for it to be an accident. Challenge yourself to write as few questions as possible; remember, short proposals are quicker to review.
- Refuse to provide extra information. Unless confidential or clearly unnecessary, auditors should feel free to request more documents to (among other things) better estimate the total cost to perform the service.
With these pieces of advice in mind, it’s time to begin writing your audit RFP. This is where it gets tough; each question should be pointed at discovering one aspect of the firm’s overall value. Start by asking for their peer review and professional memberships. Make sure they’re thorough in explaining their fee structure, whether hourly, all-inclusive, or otherwise.
An auditor’s value goes beyond the bottom line, however, and we’re here to help. Download our AH RFP Checklist to make sure you’ve got all the essential information and none of the fluff in your RFP. We’ve included information we’re prepared to answer as well as best practices from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
If you don’t feel like starting from scratch, you can also download the customizable RFP Template we created. This template comes pre-styled and includes instructions for inserting your organization’s information and questions quickly and easily.
Let us know if we missed anything or if you have questions about any part of the proposal process. We’re here to serve!