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Carrying out audits at a social distance - news article image

Carrying out audits at a social distance

17 Aug 2020

3 minute read

Audit is one of the services which we used to carry out whilst at our clients' premises. Lockdown prevented these client visits from happening and now, social distancing measures continue to impact on the ‘normal’ audit process.

Although there is an automatic three month filing extension for accounts, companies over the audit threshold still have a responsibility to file an audit report with their accounts.

The approach we have taken to remote auditing is in-line with the ICAEW’s guidelines as well as taking into account the best-practice procedures and substantive-testing approach we have developed over the years.

Our process is as follows

Planning
Audit planning meetings will be held via Zoom or Teams. If we have carried out an audit for you the previous year, the findings from that audit will form an important element of planning for the following year’s work. 

Timetable
A timetable will be agreed to suit you and your team’s workloads, working hours and home life commitments. This will enable us to provide you with an audit information request schedule which sets out the information and documentation we will need to be available for the audit. 

Visiting your premises
A review of the Government health guidelines including the advice on face-coverings and any restrictions in the applicable jurisdiction will be carried out. We will also ask you to share your visitor guidance with us. If geographical restrictions are in place, we may need to consider cancelling or delaying work that cannot be done remotely to safeguard the wellbeing of you and us.

Electronic information gathering
All of our audit clients have been set up with access to our secure cloud-based file sharing portal (CCH). The agreed information is uploaded to the portal as soon as it is ready and before the audit starts. This means that our audit team has time to review the information and avoid delays during the audit process.

Stocktake 
Physical attendance at a stocktake may be necessary in which case we will liaise with our client, understand their visitor policies and ensure the client premises allows sufficient social distancing. We will consider each client on a case-by-case basis and decide on whether an alternative audit procedure can be performed.

Sample selection 
Once we receive the initial information, we will select our detailed samples as early as possible to ensure we provide you with enough time to find the required documentation. This is why we ask for the Trial Balance and supporting nominal ledger reports in advance of the scheduled audit dates.

Work that cannot be done remotely
There may be some work which cannot be done remotely, such as where evidence is only available in non-scannable hard copy or where physical verification in person is required. We will agree to review this evidence at a later date and discuss any implications for the agreed audit timetable.

Continuous communication throughout 
Keeping the communications channels open is now more important than ever. We have several ways to keep in regular contact with you. Like many people, Zoom or Teams virtual meetings and video calls have quickly become the norm and this includes the ability to share screens. We try to minimise the additional time that your team need to spend on providing additional audit information and replying to audit queries.

Board meetings
If we are scheduled to attend your audit/finance committee or board meetings we will do this remotely or at a safe social-distance.

Some things should never change

One of the most important aspects to an audit is that it is tailored to the specific requirements of your business. Our audit team (whether on or off-site) will build their knowledge of your business and your sector as well as the understanding of where you want your business to be in the future. 

Contact me, Steve Neal on steve.neal@shawgibbs.com or call 01865 292200 for an informal discussion on how we support your business.

Carrying out audits at a social distance - news article image

Author:

Steve Neal

For more info contact us:

01865 292 200

020 7436 4773

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