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Preparing For An Audit

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Here are some simple steps to prepare for an audit that will make the audit process more effective and efficient, decrease the amount of time the auditors are on-site, minimize the disruption to your operations, and increase the likelihood that the audit yields valuable benefits to the auditee.

  • Designate a principal liaison person to work with the auditors - this person should be responsible for ensuring the auditor's have access to records and files they need as well as directing the auditors to the appropriate responsible individual to learn about program operations or to answer questions.
  • Arrange for an appropriate staff person to provide an overview of agency operations and a tour of agency facilities - this enables the auditors to gain a perspective on the entirety of your operations. Assemble appropriate and current background information about the agency, program, or activity for the auditors.
  • Arrange suitable on-site office space for the auditors that they can use for the duration of their fieldwork - the space should be reasonably accessible to the records and people they will interact with.
  • Inform your staff about the audit and audit scope and instruct them to cooperate with the auditors in providing information and access to records, files, etc.
  • Organize your financial records, computer files, etc. before the auditors arrive - audits by nature are a documentation driven process - having your information organized and accessible will make the process easier for both the auditors and auditee. If any records applicable to the audit period are stored off-site, arrange to have the records returned, if possible, or make arrangements to allow retrieval on a timely basis.
  • Make copies of prior year financial statements, audit reports etc. for the auditors.
  • If the audit is a financial statement audit, recognize that the agency's financial statements are the responsibility of auditee management - the auditor's responsibility is to audit, not prepare the financial statements. Inform the auditors of your schedule to close your books, prepare draft financial statements and complete supporting schedules.
  • If the audit involves federal funds, accumulate communications from the federal grantor regarding new requirements or changes in program operations, assemble reports filed with the federal grantor, accumulate relevant compliance requirements, and provide copies of any audit reports performed by the federal government or official communications from the federal grantor.
  • If a computer system is key to your operations, arrange for a person knowledgeable about the computer system to be available to explain the system's operations and to facilitate retrieval of data and generation of reports.
  • Schedule time to meet with the auditors periodically throughout the audit to learn about the progress of the audit, facilitate communication, resolve issues on a timely basis, and correct any misunderstandings.

These are general steps recommended to prepare for an audit. Specific steps and information requests that are unique to your audit will be communicated to you as part of the initial contact and planning meeting with the auditors.

33 Broad Street, Suite 201, Providence, Rhode Island 02903-4177
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