Failing to choose the right auditor can have disastrous results for any company. The repercussions can affect most if not all aspects of the business including branding and the value of the company. It is therefore imperative that a company understands not just the requirements to look for in a potential auditor but also how to choose the right auditor and maintain a great relationship with them. So how does a company choose an auditor with the right characteristics to maintain a good working relationship?
The following five considerations can help
Meet the People Who Will Conduct the Audit
When looking for an audit firm, the person who convinces you to buy the service is usually not the person who will conduct the audit. To get a clear idea of what you will be getting, it may be prudent to ask to meet with and speak to the people who’ll conduct the audit. In this way, you can share them your expectations that they will consider during the audit. But more importantly, you can accurately assess their strengths and weaknesses and very quickly decide if they’re the right fit for your company.
Look for Transparency and Communication
The audit firm you choose to use should be completely transparent with their systems and how they conduct the audit process. If they can’t tell you clearly what to expect, they can’t be relied upon to deliver quality assessment. Communication should also be open and timely even before you choose to work with the firm. The auditors should be able to answer all questions you have regarding their process. They should also ensure that you fully understand what they need to do to prepare for and conduct the audit.
Check their Industry Expertise
It should go without saying that their expertise is probably the most important aspect to consider when choosing an auditor. But not just whether or not they are good at their job but if their general expertise is the right fit for your needs. It would be far easier to maintain a relationship with an audit firm that understands your industry.
The fees they charge
In most cases, if an audit firm’s fees are too low as compared to the general market prevailing rate, you should be concerned about their experience. It is also possible that they will not follow the required audit procedures and hence the reduced fee. Cost is a big consideration but beware of fees that are below the market rate.
Check the Firm’s References
The final consideration when looking to hire an auditor is to check the firm’s references. How did they perform for other similar businesses? Were their general recommendations beneficial to the businesses they’ve worked with in the past? This may be easier to do if the auditor was recommended to you by another business. But you can still request to see the auditor’s former clients see how they’ve performed in the past.
Most businesses consider cost above all other factors when looking for an audit firm. But as the five factors above clearly demonstrate, how much an auditor charges for their service is not as important as the quality of work they do. Begin by assessing their reputation, expertise and other factors before considering the cost.