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The ugly truth of an inefficient Audit process

on 25 October 2023
Posted by Mark Taylor
truth

Do you ever get frustrated at the progress of audits? Or feel like you lack visibility over the entire process?

Despite practices' best efforts to standardise their audit procedures, workflows can become easily fragmented because of issues like disorganised email communications, uncoordinated data-gathering methods, a lack of version control, and client delays.

The result: A chaotic audit process that can easily lead to frustration, mistakes, and the potential loss of clients. In the worst instance, you may even find your procedures fall outside excepted accounting standards.

We outline 4 areas and what the fallout looks like to the team and the practice when the audit process isn’t working as it should be, along with the underlying issues.

Errors and non-compliance

These occur due to:

  • Lack of automation and a reliance on manual data input and document management.
  • Inconsistent version control due to multiple staff working on the same audit material with little visibility of their colleagues' work.
  • Inefficient communication channels between those working on the audit, especially when some colleagues work from home or in separate offices.

Lost clients

Losing audit clients is generally down to:

  • Missed deadlines because of a lack of information-gathering and client reminder automation.
  • Poor communication and a lack of visibility of their audit process, which is fixed through online to-do lists and reminders.
  • A poor reputation due to errors, as mentioned above.
  • Or simply new clients get left at the door, as you are too busy to field new enquiries.

The consequences of losing clients cannot be overstated.

It causes a loss of income and further intensifies the problems associated with a poor reputation.

It is also demoralising to your team, which adds to the chances of frustration and burnout.

Frustration and burnout

Staff and colleagues can become burned out and frustrated when your audit process is poorly managed. In the worst case, they may even decide to go elsewhere.

This is caused by:

  • Disorganised communication which holds staff back from completing their work.
  • Deadline pressures which are exacerbated by poor information flow and lack of visibility between colleagues.
  • Resource mismanagement means staff are confused – confusion leads to frustration, which in turn leads to them looking elsewhere for work.

A high staff turnover could be the result of the disillusion associated with a poorly managed audit process.

With accounting firms already facing a recruitment and retention process, can you really afford to lose talented staff?

GDPR breaches

There was a lot of noise around GDPR when it was first drafted, but practices are still regularly exposing themselves to potential fines.

According to some research, a staggering 43 per cent of practices in the financial sector have not implemented sufficient data management software that would protect their clients from privacy breaches.

Considering the ICO’s ability to hand out fines of up to £17.5 million, depending on the severity of the infringement, this is an issue that all firms should be actively guarding against.

So, what can be done about it?

If your firm wants to streamline its audit process, but you are tired of grappling with these challenges, cloud-based information-gathering software offers a solution.

These platforms are designed to streamline your audit workflow, reduce errors, meet deadlines, and alleviate your team’s frustrations by automating client reminders and to-do lists, fostering digital collaboration, and giving you visibility of your team’s workflow.

Traditional audit processes vs cloud-based solutions

Traditional information-gathering processes, like email or client portals, often suffer from delayed communication and tedious manual data management.

In addition, emails often have file size restrictions that mean your audit information is arriving in your inbox in a stream of fragmented messages.

On the other hand, cloud-based solutions centralise and standardise real-time communication and automate data management to prevent these issues.

They also offer real-time visibility of workflow tasks and deadline tracking features to keep your team on top of the audit process.

How Glasscubes can help

Glasscubes, an information-gathering solution tailor-made for accountants, can significantly reduce the impact of some of these issues.

  • Streamlined workflow: Glasscubes allows you to view your workload and associated audit requests in real-time meaning you can prioritise tasks effectively.
  • Reduced errors: By centralising auditing requests on Glasscubes, you ensure team alignment and up-to-date information, significantly reducing error risks and duplicate work across the team.
  • Meeting deadlines: Glasscubes comes with built-in deadline tracking features, allowing you to set automated reminders, to make sure clients provide information in a timely manner. This ensures that you meet all deadlines, keeping your clients happy and your practice compliant and not having to deal with resource management when clients leave everything to the last minute.
  • Alleviating frustrations: The platform is designed to be user-friendly, reducing the learning curve and making it easier for your team to adapt. This ease of use can significantly alleviate the frustrations commonly associated with disjointed workflows.

In today's fast-paced and highly regulated accounting landscape, an efficient and compliant audit workflow is more important than ever.

By adopting Glasscubes, you can not only enhance the productivity of your practice but also safeguard its reputation and profitability, ensuring long-term success.

Would you like to know more? Click here to view a demostration, or visit this page to get more information


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About this author: Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor is an experienced business writer and journalist including papers such as The Guardian, specialising in accounting, financial services and technology.
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