Whether you’ve been through one audit or 50, it never hurts to learn how to make the process easier for both you and your auditors.
Though many think of annual audits as a stressful investigation, we see it as a way to reflect on the last year, celebrate the wins, and solve any financial problems that arise.
To help transform your audit from a necessary evil to a painless process, keep this advice in mind.
Confirm the Timeline
Keeping open communication with your auditors about the proposed timeline is the most helpful way to prepare for an end-of-year audit. Make sure you are both clear on when certain documents are due and when an auditor will perform a site visit (if necessary).
A leading cause of frustration and delays is when auditors lack a few pieces of information that prevent the process from moving to the next stage. Setting clear deadlines and sticking to them is one way to avoid this hassle.
Your auditors will send you a request list before they do a site visit. To save time and energy on the day(s) of the audit, gather these documents ahead of time and be prompt about replying to any additional items.
Common materials your auditors will need to see include regulatory filings like W-2s, W-3s and 941s, as well as other IRS notices your organization receives throughout the year.
Scan these documents or send an electronic copy to your auditors ahead of time. This helps them get a head start on reviewing your materials and offering advice or guidance.
In addition, let your auditors know if you have issues locating or obtaining requested records. It’s much easier to deal with problems like these ahead of time, rather than waiting until the last minute.
If you really want to go the extra mile, organize your documents into folders that correspond with the different stages in the audit process.
Because part of the audit process involves getting to know your organization and industry, it helps auditors greatly to have a list of key events that happened last year. Before the on-site visit, take an hour to note any legal matters, new loans or leases, address changes, and other milestones to share with your auditor.
Getting into the habit of sharing more information rather than less will help you create a smooth audit experience both now and in the future.
Audits are a Team Effort
You and your auditor need each other to help your organization stay compliant. Cooperating with your auditor and informing him or her about how your business works are key ways to make the process smooth and easy each year.
At Lemler Group, we make sure our clients know we’re on their side, which helps us work together and finish audits quickly. You can learn more about our approach to auditing or contact us if you’re ready to experience a timely, relational audit.