Tips for an efficient remote audit

Hillier Hopkins LLP

Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisers

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Ever since lockdown back in March 2020, “Remote audit” has been a term that has become familiar to those in finance. Our Director and audit specialist Gary Wong gives his tips on how to have a successful and efficient remote audit. 

Technology like Microsoft Teams or Zoom has allowed us to stay in touch with our clients and still have face-to-face meetings. Secure file transfer tools allow teams to share information in a speedy yet secure way without filling up inboxes.
Covid-19 has caused many disruptions to daily life, both personal and professional. Although physical restrictions had an impact on how we delivered our audit service during the lockdown, we were well prepared with fully remote working systems and have been able to successfully adapt our audit process during the pandemic.
I am frequently asked at client meetings or audit committees whether remote audits impact on audit quality. With auditors frequently hitting the press for all the wrong reasons over the past few years, there can be no compromise on audit quality. A remote audit should give you the same consistent teams, same quality of relationship with your auditor, and the same levels of observation, verification and procedures.
With remote auditing likely to be staying with us whilst the pandemic continues, we have listed our top 5 tips below for an efficient remote audit:
1. Plan, plan, plan – Like any project, make sure an agreed timeline is in place and everyone is available at critical points, especially if there are tight deadlines. This will help to reduce any potential delays.
2. Communication – I can’t emphasise enough the importance of good two-way communication which makes a real difference to the success of an audit. Regular catch-ups help to ensure any bottlenecks are dealt with swiftly, lets both parties know how the audit is really progressing and if any issues have been picked up, these can be dealt with early rather than the last minute.
3. Audit requirements and information – Agree what needs to be provided upfront so there are no surprises for either party during the fieldwork – for example, are there paper records which need to be collected and can this be done in a socially distanced manner?
4. Check the IT beforehand – can your software or networks be accessed remotely if required? Can you download all the files you need to share with your auditors?
5. Stocktakes – can the auditor attend the stocktake physically and if not, can arrangements be made to attend the stocktake remotely in some capacity with further top up work carried out when restrictions are relaxed?
Remote auditing should not add significantly to costs or fees when approached correctly. If you have got any questions about how a remote audit would work for your business, please get in touch on 0330 024 3200 or hi@hhllp.co.uk.
Do you need extra information?
Gary Wong

Gary has 15 years of audit experience and brings a wealth of experience from his time at Grant Thornton, Deloitte and RSM, working with various industry sectors from owner managed businesses through to large international groups and AIM listed businesses.

Contact Gary at gary.wong@hhllp.co.uk or on 01923 634453