Remote Accounting

Conducting Remote Audits? Here’s What You Need to Know

March 10, 2022


Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

As companies make their way through the annual audit season, many are still adjusting to the reality of a remote workforce. Though the process has provided several unique challenges, it has also helped teams become more agile and adaptable, strengthening their ability to deliver results no matter the circumstances.

For teams who are still adapting to things like remote audits, several best practices can help ensure that the new process is successful.

Get your head in the Cloud

The first hurdle that many organizations face is a lack of centralized information and an inability to collaborate over long distances. Using siloed systems, particularly if significant amounts of data are being stored in physical files, can make access difficult — if not impossible — for those working from home.

Companies anticipating or planning for remote audits should begin the process by embracing digitization, moving away from things like paper documents.

“It may take a purposeful push to digitize in order to achieve the repeatability, scalability, and consistency necessary for operating effectively in a remote environment.” — Jon Raphael, National Managing Partner, Deloitte

Next, your team should look at onboarding cloud-based software. Ideally, it should also integrate with your company’s accounting solutions, ensuring that business-critical data is available at any time. This allows your team to work independently or collaborate when necessary, using up-to-date and accurate information.

agile principles

Become more agile

The phrase “this meeting could have been an email” is a common joke around office spaces, but when it comes to remote audits, regular team-wide communication is vital.

Even under the best of conditions, projects can very quickly begin running behind schedule or above budget. The risk grows when members of the team are isolated and spread out.

To help keep your team focused and productive, it is helpful to hold daily agile stand-ups using virtual meeting platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. During these calls, the group can review tasks, list the previous day’s accomplishments, and collaborate on challenges.

Setting small, bite-sized goals will enable team members to make attainable, measurable contributions and give them the ability to make changes as needed. It will also provide accurate data which can be analyzed regularly to understand the progress being made in the audit process and identify immediate priorities.

These meetings also allow business leaders to actively communicate with their employees, providing the consistency and transparency required for hybrid work models to work effectively.

digital security

Keep it clean

An unexpected complication that remote audit teams may face is technology challenges related to security and capabilities. Workers should be provided with clear-cut guidelines regarding digital safety and proper operations of the solutions being used.

It may also be necessary to provide training on how to test at-home systems, and how to engage in scenario planning. In brief, this involves identifying factors that could impact performance, selecting those most likely to apply, developing plausible hypotheticals in which those factors could occur, and analyzing the implications of each.

Together, these activities function as a sort of digital hygiene, helping keep your operations running and healthy.

employee wellness

Remember the human touch

On a fundamental level, one of the most important steps to conducting a successful remote audit is to remember the real people behind it all.

Team leaders and managers need to regularly engage with each of their employees one-on-one, as well as institute practices that enable a sense of shared purpose. Without access to a physical office, it is easy for workers to feel isolated, undervalued, or forgotten.

The shift to digitization can provide real-time statistics to monitor and judge performance, which is invaluable when it comes to accomplishing goals, but the threat of burnout from this heightened scrutiny and intensity should not be disregarded.

This can be avoided by adopting programs that support mental health, physical well-being, and promote work/life balance.

What sort of results will embracing an agile, open, and transparent culture help provide your organization?  With proper execution, it will provide the flexibility and resilience needed to succeed in an ever-changing work environment.

For additional information on how to keep your business finances healthy, visit Beanworks library of resources

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