The benefits of properly planning an audit

I found a few jars of jam recently in my freezer. These jars came from my good friends and neighbors who had moved to Africa two years ago. They were cleaning out their freezer prior to their move and gave us the jam.

I am not a big fan of jams but my family is, especially for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so I have been using these jams alot. This week I was down to my last jar of jam and was pondering the planning and process that went into preparing and preserving these jams. It dawned on me that a process that had happened at least two to three years ago was still benefiting my family. By investing her time in food preservation (i.e. canning jams), my neighbor saved my family time and money. She delayed our need to go to the store to buy a jar of jam.

This example made realize that the value of good planning translates into all facets of life including work. In my case, work involves planning an audit. I go through this process at least three times a year for my audits.

If you are in doubt that good planning pays off, here are some of the benefits, amongst many:

1. Good planning saves time

-helps you prioritize audit procedures to focus on the important things

-frees up time to respond to emergencies or unanticipated events during the audit

-frees up time to help others

-frees up time for value add opportunities

2. Good planning helps you stay organized

-helps you organize the deluge of data that is always part of an audit

-helps you document audit work in a linear framework consistent with auditing standards

3. Good planning helps you keep the client happy

-helps you meet expectations on timeframes and deadlines

-respects the client’s time

  • by getting on their calendar early before it gets filled up with other meetings
  • by giving them enough time to prepare the items requested for the audit
  • by being strategic about the number of necessary meeting times (Less vs. more is always best. This can be    accomplished by methodically gathering questions and open items and possibly meeting fewer times with the client but maybe for longer periods)

4. Good planning reduces the overall stress of the audit

In a future post, I will talk about some of the ways to plan well for an audit. Hopefully you can share some of your tips with me as well.


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