Choosing the right external auditor is an important decision. You will work with your external auditors every year, and their insights will likely be integral to your audit organization’s success.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT AUDITOR?
An external audit will provide more than just corporate compliance. To truly add value to your business, an auditor needs to bring the right combination of qualifications, experience, technology, and approach to the task. Here are some features you should look out for.
When selecting a practitioner for compliance services, reputation is often the first consideration. Not only do you want to have confidence that you are getting a quality return on your investment, but your customers have the same confidence in any compliance reports or certifications issued.
There are plenty of options out there but consider carefully how each established player in the industry affects you, among other factors.
IF YOU ARE PARTNERING WITH A NEW OR RAPIDLY GROWING BUSINESS:
BENEFITS: They will want to work with you to build a solid reputation.
INCONVENIENCES: There can be little guarantee that your checkout process will go smoothly. As such, you run the risk of your final deliverable being viewed with scepticism by customers.
IF YOU CHOOSE A COMPANY WITH A RECOGNIZED NAME AND PROVEN EXPERTISE:
BENEFITS: You will work in partnership with someone who may have helped set standards for testing and evaluation activities.
INCONVENIENCES: Having been in the industry for so long, their audit methodology may have fallen into a superficial approach – just tick the boxes.
Either way, an audit firm’s value proposition should be clear and understandable to you.
2. EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE
It goes with the company’s reputation, but when it comes to experience and know-how, we have to dig deeper.
Accounting firms may provide services, but they actually provide staff to provide those services. At an individual level, the team must have the appropriate knowledge and skills for the type of assessment requested by the client or the legal requirements that need to be met. Depending on your priorities and needs, experience and expertise can mean different things.
- Years in the industry
- Completed reviews by reviewers (these reviews must be relevant to your project type)
- The future of their service line (since most reviews are real)
- (Shellman professionals have an average of nine years of experience, and the team averages four certifications per expert.)
However, whichever factor(s) you choose to prioritise, regardless of the company, be sure to ask for proof of their training and qualifications to certify they conduct the assessments that are required by your organisation. To further prepare for the future, you may also want to inquire about their expertise with other compliance standards. After all, using a single provider has several advantages.
In addition, your ideal partnership would be with an audit firm with expertise in your particular area of practice for two main reasons:
- Your entire review process will be easier if your reviewers already know your industry goals and pain points, making it less challenging.
- You’ll also save time, money, and effort spent introducing and building a knowledge base with the new external team you invite in.
Set it like this: you wouldn’t hire your local orthodontist and their cleaning team to perform your cardiovascular surgery. Orthodontists and hygienists are smart and skilled but not tailored to your specific needs. Instead, you’ll want an experienced cardiac surgeon to manage your condition and the support of nurses with expertise in operating room procedures to ensure you get through a difficult situation to get what you need.
Moving forward – in today’s world, technology is a big help in many areas, and your audit firms should also take advantage of it during your audit to streamline your process.
Audits always take up a lot of staff time and effort through evaluating meaningful processes, gathering evidence, and addressing additional questions and potentially never breaking down. But there are still modern ways to speed up and organize evidence collection and data analysis, among other things.
Many audit firms in Dubai have built or received these types of tools, and they will all look brilliant and useful on paper. However, to make sure your choice works, request a demo to get a real feel for the user experience. That way, you’re more likely to land a deal with a company that provides technology that makes the testing process easier.
One more thing, you shouldn’t hear from your chosen student once a year. They are not only your appraisers. They are also your business advisors and should therefore be in constant communication throughout the year.
A good audit firm or team will establish an open communication channel between you and your auditor.
This is important, as you will need to include them in discussions about the following:
- Change your environment.
- Add more business lines; Or.
- Additional regulatory or compliance requirements may result in additional coverage or entirely separate assessments.
Ask your potential companies about their planning methods. How will the two of you stay in touch? Proactively holding these discussions can help you establish a level of trust with the outside team early on, which will be crucial to the future of your relationship. If the auditor doesn’t priorities open dialogue between you, that raises questions about how you’ll manage risks and emerging technologies, protect your data, and evolve your business processes.
As an audit firm ourselves, we always hear the question, “Why are the fees for these services so high?” And it’s true compliance can cost you not only in time and effort but also financially.
Price is one factor you need to consider, and several factors affect audit fees:
- Time requirements;
- scope complexity;
- litter size;
- Local travel requirements; And
- Risks, to name a few.
While it may be tempting to look for the lowest price, it’s also important to remember that there are always offers.
“Sometimes you get what you give.”
As is the case with other cheaper products, you run the short-term risk of not getting the satisfactory services your customers demand. Plus, if you have to invite another, more qualified team for last-minute pricing, your fees could be even higher in the long run.
However, these capabilities do not eliminate your budget constraints, although a good combination of competitive pricing and value will likely be the best choice. When reviewing companies, find the ones that are most transparent about their overall pricing. Of course, see if there are any cost savings from multiple reviews.
BONUS CONSIDERATIONS: FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The previous five factors will play a major role in your final decision, but you should also not overlook the importance of choosing a company with the right employees for your company.
During the negotiation, ask to speak with senior partners and get to know the company inside and out. Notice if company representatives are responsive, friendly, and helpful when asking you questions or even allowing you to get the hang of it.
You should also be referred to the employee(s) who will regularly process your account. If possible, have your team meet them. These are people with whom you will feel comfortable working long-term through an arduous process, so it is important to recognize the positive association early on.