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Are audits scary? Should you choose to have one?

Are audits scary? Should you choose to have one?

For many years I’ve spent most of my working days doing audits. Hundreds of them over the years. So it can be easy to forget that most people don’t know too much about what an audit involves, except that the word “audit” sounds somewhat intimidating.

Is it true, are audits scary?

Maybe a little bit! But not as much as you might think. As your auditor, we will ask you questions, check documents, and probe into how things are being done to make sure we understand them. These things will need some of your time and could be a bit uncomfortable at times. Maybe we will find some problems we can let you know about so they can be fixed.

But as your auditor we will work with you to reach the right conclusion, rather than being your adversary. We will do our very best to manage the process so that it’s as smooth and pain-free as possible. We will plan the work well in advance so that it’s clear what information we need and what the timetable is. We will work around your commitments, taking into account your workload and other time pressures. We will provide you with clear updates on the status of our work throughout the process. We won’t surprise you with audit findings in a potentially embarrassing way (eg during a finalisation meeting). Instead, we will make sure to inform you of any discussion points as they arise, so that we can work together to reach the right conclusion.

It may surprise you, but many organisations actually choose to have an audit, even if the law doesn’t oblige them to. Why would they do that? Some of the reasons are below:

Peace of mind for management and stakeholders

An audit gives you the peace of mind that a team of specialists have had a detailed look through your accounting records, tested samples of transactions to underlying evidence, and considered whether judgemental items have been treated reasonably. Having an audit may help to instil good financial disciplines in your finance team throughout the year as well – knowledge that an audit is coming up may help remind people it’s a good idea to hold on to those key documents. An audited set of accounts could also be useful to your other stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, investors or lenders.

Insights and added value

We will never understand your organisation as well as you do, but we can bring a fresh pair of eyes to a problem. And we can apply the range of experience we’ve gained from doing hundreds of audits to benchmark your organisation against best practice. We may be able to alert you to strategic issues we see on the horizon (eg, perhaps your budgeting method could be more robust, to ensure you don’t run short of cash). We can introduce you to opportunities you may not have been aware of (eg, perhaps you can make a tax claim for research and development). At the end of our audit we will send you a Management Letter, summarising our key findings. Included in the letter will be a list of observations we’ve made about your financial controls, including suggestions for improvements for you to consider.

Year-round access to an expert adviser and our network

An audit typically happens once a year, but our relationship with our clients is ongoing throughout the year. This means that you can contact us with questions that arise, or when you would like a second opinion on an issue that’s come up. Substantial pieces of work would form a separate service, but smaller questions and ad hoc meetings or calls would be covered by our audit fee. At Critchleys we also have very easy access to our other expert service providers in areas such as Tax, Payroll, Human Resources, Accounts Preparation, Outsourcing, Company Secretarial and Corporate Finance. We can easily put you in touch with someone who will be able to help with any financial matter that comes up.

If you’re interested in having an audit for your own organisation, or seeing if there is something else we can help you with, please get in touch.

Find out more about Gary Pready

Gary Pready

Gary Pready

Senior Audit Manager