Great Relationships Start with Communication
- Wednesday, 19 April 2017 18:33
- Craig Stevens
Most nonprofits and associations of a certain size undergo an annual audit of their financial statements. While not necessarily a pleasant experience, it is an important discipline to maintain fiscal health and accountability. Having performed audits for 34 years here are some thoughts on what makes for a mutually beneficial relationship between auditors and clients.
What should an organization expect from their auditors?
- A team of knowledgeable and intelligent professionals throughout the organization.
- Junior staff members should inspire confidence regardless of their experience level.
- Attentive client service – prompt and responsive communications, a logistical schedule well in-advance of an audits start date, and deadlines should be met ahead of due dates.
- Technical advice – regular updates on standard changes, regulations etc. that affect your business; and answers to your questions or a referral source when necessary.
- Pleasant to work with!
- Fees – reasonable charges for services rendered and regular billing updates to avoid surprises.
- Presentation skills – auditors should be able to competently present to your Board and/or other advisors such as lawyers, actuaries, and investment managers.
- Deliverables that exceed your expectations.
What should auditors expect from their clients?
- Adequate and advanced preparation for the audit and tax return. If a client is still reconciling accounts and making adjustments to the books after the audit commences, it’s almost a guarantee the auditor will incur overruns. Auditors need to be able to do the audit when they have staff in the field for efficiency, not by managers back in their office over weeks as clients process adjustments and make changes.
- Consistent client engagement during the audit and tax process, and prompt responses to open item requests.
- Advance notice of transactions and major events before the audit commences such as lease transactions, property sales, loss events, new programs or activities, personnel turnover, and fraud or malfeasance.
- Prompt payment for agreed upon services.
- A collegial working relationship.
What do you think makes for a great auditor/client relationship? Tell us.