If 2020 hasn’t been challenging enough, the cherry on top of this year – your annual audit!
Since 2020 has been like no other, why should your audit be any different? If you participated in a COVID relief program, your audit will be impacted.
This fact is not intended to scare you, but to prepare you to address some items now. It is better to be ready, so you want to think about these items before the end of the year.
For many, 2020 has been a blur. In our organizations, we may feel like we were adjusting to change every minute and making decisions to survive with documentation of new processes and procedures being the last thing on our mind. We can’t delay dealing with the documentation of our new ways of doing business.
Now is the time to pull out your internal control documentation and think about what you changed. Think also about the impact the changes had on your internal control structure. Ask yourself and your team these questions:
- What were the new controls that had to be put in place once everyone was working from home?
- Were there new risks to the organization that you had to address?
- Were controls overridden by management in response to COVID-19 to be able to respond quickly?
- Were there controls in place to ensure that PPP or other relief funds were properly spent and documented?
- Is my auditor going to use a drone to observe my inventory? (This is not a joke.)
- What is the likelihood of additional changes between now and the end of the year?
- Have there been any changes in roles and responsibilities?
- Were any key oversight roles changed due to employee layoffs or other role changes?
- What changes need to be made to work with auditors during the audit?
Steps to take now:
1. Take the time to reflect on the changes that you made.
2. Ask your team to identify the changes they made or were asked to make.
3. Identify the impact of each change.
4. Prepare your documentation and responses for your audit.
5. Schedule time for a pre-audit discussion with your auditor.
Now is the time to prepare your organization for the audit and for the calendar year 2021.