External audits: A new streamlined process for our audit clients

Article by Andrew Bingley

 

External audits are serious business. For large proprietary companies, foreign owned companies, AFSL companies, clubs and anyone who requires an external compliance audit, it’s crucial that audits are done on time and to the required standards and regulations.

Failure to comply to external audit requirements can be very costly.

But just as importantly for management of audited companies and organisations, you want audits to be done as efficiently as possible with minimum disruption to operations.

And that’s where technology is our friend.

SRJ Walker Wayland has long been a very early adopter of new technology in the audit space. Caseware—the leading provider of audit software platforms—has often told us we’re among the very early users, Australia-wide, of their new releases and innovations.

This is the case again, with their release of the Caseware Xtend. We’re rapt to have been using this brilliant platform since July, because it offers our clients a raft of advantages.

Before we explain the benefits our audit clients are experiencing, let’s take a quick look at the old way external audits have been done.

Audits done ‘the old way’

Traditional way external audits have been done:

  • Auditors physically on-site
  • Inefficient paper files used
  • Disruptive process that can take a whole week out of the client’s productivity
  • Information requests get lost in a sea of emails and long email threads
  • Then it becomes a forensic exercise to retrace steps and confirm requested information has been provided

Other problems with the use of email for audit-related communications include:

  • Security issues: Email is inherently insecure and is more easily hacked. That’s the last thing you want when dealing with your sensitive information.
  • Data limits: Emails with large files attached are often blocked to fail to send

Audits done ‘the new way’

With the use of the new Caseware Xtend portal in audits, our clients are experiencing:

  • No more use of insecure and messy email messages for information requests
  • Clients each receive a secure login and can have separate logins per person
  • This creates a clean and simple to follow history (‘audit trail’) of who has supplied which information or has answered which checklist questions
  • Electronic (on-screen) checklists mean there’s only ever one master version of each checklist, avoiding the confusion as to who has the latest version of a work-in-progress checklist, which is a common problem when managing email attachments
  • This streamlines the communication and avoids the ‘forensic exercise’ of having to search for and wade through past emails — all communications are listed in the one easy-to-access place, the on-screen portal.
  • Clients can spread the load: Use of the portal allows clients to start providing information before the auditor arrives on-site. This gives clients the flexibility to gather the information required at times that suit them better.
  • It’s clear for clients to see when there’s an information request for them to respond to — and it’s clear for the audit team to see which requests are still outstanding.
  • It’s easy for clients to drag-and-drop the requested information and for the client and audit team to make comments about different files and information.

Feedback from our external audit clients

Since we started using Caseware Xtend in July, our audit clients have been loving the ease of use, flexibility and convenience. Here’s some of the feedback we’ve received:

  • Being able to have multiple logins to the one system has enabled our team to efficiently split work between finance team members within our business.
    – B.P., Brisbane
  • The new portal system has reduced the number of emails that have been sent throughout the audit process, saving our business time and money and is a much more secure way of transferring confidential information.
    – D.D., Redcliffe
  • Having access to an electronic checklist of the required audit information well before the audit has enabled us to gather and upload the information at a time convenient to our business.
    – N.P., Strathpine

Our audit team is spreading its wings

Now that our audit team is using the cloud-based Caseware Xtend, we’re finding that we’re picking up clients from interstate, not just from South East Queensland. Where a business is located in Australia is no longer a constraint or factor in choosing to use our audit services.

For example, recently a fertiliser business located 4 hours outside of Melbourne got in touch and we’re now completing their external audit using the new electronic audit platform.

Have an external audit requirement?

If you need external audits to be done and you’d like to make the process as streamlined and efficient as possible for you and your team, get in touch with us and we’ll explain how the process can work for you.

We think you’ll love the new way.