Audits are a great money-maker for accounting firms, but if a potential client isn’t properly vetted before taking on an audit, it can lead to more hassle and headache than it is worth. Firms should focus on finding the right audit clients using a quality-control process that protects them from potential crisis.
A quality-control program is the best way to maintain professional standards and protect a firm’s reputation while choosing clients that align with the company’s mission, goals and values. That program should include several policies and procedures that cover areas such as: leadership responsibility, audit performance, client relations, monitoring, human resources, and ethics. Here are some guidelines for ways your accounting firm can reboot your audit quality-control program.
Set The Tone From The Top Down
Leadership sets the bar for the quality and caliber of work throughout the firm. They must prioritize ethics internally and demonstrate that they value ethics from their clients, as well. Choosing to work with companies that have a reputation for skirting proper practices will negatively impact employees’ perception of leadership. If top management doesn’t care about ethics, why should employees?
Document The Quality Control Process
Quality control should be defined and detailed in a document that acts as the cornerstone for the program. This document can serve as a reference and a means of keeping all employees on the same page in terms of audit controls and best practices. Every employee should be trained on audit quality control, be given a copy of the document, and then be asked to sign an acknowledgement that states they have read and understood that document.
Risk assessment is a key piece of audit quality control. This can be difficult, but accounting firms expect their clients to assess risk and control often un-controllable factors, so they should be willing and able to do the same. Accounting firms must take control over their operations and assess risk before tackling a new audit engagement.
Set Standards For Client Acceptance
An accounting firm is only as reputable as the clients it aligns itself with. Leaders must agree on a set of standards for new clients, and be willing to stick to those standards, no matter how tempting a large contract might be. The firm must also have the staff, the time and the tools to accept an audit engagement and see it through to completion.
Accounting firms must constantly take stock of where they are, how they are utilizing resources and they must continuously evaluate engagements to determine what is working and what isn’t. These assessments help improve processes and efficiencies while protecting the firm’s reputation and preventing staff burnout.
Strong audit quality control really begins and ends with people. If you want to improve your accounting and finance hiring processes and locate top-tier talent the Philadelphia area, or if you need supplemental staff to help your firm set higher audit standards, contact the recruiting experts at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today. As demonstrated leaders in accounting and finance talent sourcing, we can help connect you with the audit professionals that you need in the coming years.