Experience has shown that the year-end audit can be a painful ordeal. It can mean weeks or months of digging up information from applications, shared drives, spreadsheets, and paper binders across multiple locations and time zones.
It can involve endless back-and-forth between accountants and auditors over email, in on-site meetings, and on conference calls. Accountants chip away at the audit team’s PBC list, but discrepancies can trigger more sampling and testing—and anxiety over a potential material error.
And for accounting teams, the audit burden often comes on the heels of already tight monthly close deadlines. Accounting professionals have invested a lot of time and effort into generating clean financials, and don’t necessarily relish the idea of their work being scrutinized.
Unpleasant though it may be, the year-end audit is a necessary fact of life. So are audit activities that go on throughout the year, with periodic walkthroughs, quarterly 10-Q reviews, and SOX 404 controls testing. All the while, both clients and auditors are under pressure to stay current on ever-changing regulatory requirements and audit standards.
What isn’t necessary is the stress and inefficiency that surrounds audits.