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.
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.
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.
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
With a Recession Looming, It’s More Important Than Ever to Control Cash Flow
While effective forecasting is always a tricky business, enough experts are raising concern that businesses are looking for ways to protect themselves.
Amid Economic Uncertainty, What’s Next for Accounts Payable?
Nearly 75% of CFOs view economic uncertainty as the top challenge their organization faces. Here are some of the challenges and potential opportunities for accounts payable amid an uncertain economic future.
Will the Risk of Recession Kick Off a New Wave of Automation?
James Knightly, chief international economist of ING stated, “With supply conditions showing little sign of improvement….The recession threat is rising.” It’s this high level of volatility that has led to 3/4ths of CFOs labeling economic uncertainty as the greatest threat to their business.
Straight To Your Inbox
Stay up-to-date on top accounting and finance trends
Sign up for our newsletter and receive our latest resources, news and insights.
Learn More About Beanworks
Discover how AP automation can free your accounting team from manual data entry, delays, and paper-based processes.