This is our theme for 2020. We want to proactively assist our users to become more equipped, skilled, efficient and profitable. Here are some ideas:
Have us assess your practice
We often find that firms that are struggling with their documentation and staying current benefit hugely by having us look through the kind of work they do, having a conversation around problems and challenges and having us make some recommendations about what they could be doing (which may include some or all of the following). This discussion often takes place informally in the context of training, however we are happy to do this at a basic level as a free service on request.
Think outside your location
In the current audit environment, where many smaller part-time audit firms are opting out of audit, there is a great need for other firms to take up the slack, especially in the more remote regions. By embracing paperless, cloud-based technology like Audit Assistant there is no real disadvantage auditing small entities remotely. Have you thought about following your networks and your specialisations to regions where there are few or no auditors?
Use all our online connection tools
Sharing pages to gather data, complete checklists and otherwise interact with clients is a non-brainer when it comes to efficiencies, yet many firms still don't use these to their fullest. New features introduced over the last 12 months like to ability to customise pages prior to sharing, hiding sections, getting prompts when clients complete their work have made this even better. Plus we are working on some clever new interaction tools.
Upload your testing data and trial balance
Much efficiency is gained by creating a testing sample in Excel then uploading this to our substantive testing pages, yet this is not used nearly as much as it could be. Once the data is loaded tests are run against the sample, scans may be attached and errors notes - all within the software. Similarly trial balance data is now easier to upload and manipulate. Xero Trial Balances are now a one-click upload.
Embrace paperless - attach and link
Having everything is in the digital file means it is all secure, backed up, and assessable from anywhere. Apps like Microsoft Office Lens make scanning from your device while on fieldwork far easier. These can then be uploaded back at the office. Remember that in most cases attachments may be added by simply dragging and dropping onto the appropriate work item. Remember too that links to external sites and repositories may be added using the attachments tool.
Review concurrently and use our review tools
A huge advantage of cloud-based real-time audit software is the ability to review jobs in smaller, more timely chunks. A reviewer can jump into a job when they have a spare ten minutes, add review notes if required on pages in progress and head off any potential rabbit trails that staff may be on. No need to wait until the file arrives just hours before sign-off is required, and finding that there are plot-holes in the story. If a firm is not using the review tools they are missing out on huge efficiencies.
Use the right templates
We have now introduced a prompt to tell users if there is a better/newer version of a job type that they could/should be using. In some cases this is critical where a standard has been updated. We don't force these changes as in some cases there may be a good reason to stay on an older version (say doing a job that relates to an earlier period) but this is rare. In general if there is a new version flagged this should be adopted as a matter of course - especially after roll-over. Most of your data will be retained (that which relates to the old job type will be dropped) and you will be assured you are using current content. In the worst case you can always roll back the job using duplicate/restore.
Become an accredited user firm and list on our website
We have provided a service for some time of listing firms who wish to do so on our website (soon to be upgraded) and this free service will continue, however we are also introducing a firm accreditation system, whereby if a firm has been with us more than six months, and we have carried out training and/or file reviews, we will list them on our website as accredited users, and allow them to use our Audit Assistant branding to enhance their reputation with their clients or potential clients.
Use us to assist with your quality control
We offer a file review service whereby firms submit names of jobs for us to review and provide a written report including recommendations on how to use Audit Assistant better. This can be part of a practice assessment, lead to training in identified areas, and/or form part of your formal quality control process. Our report also contains feedback on how the file holds together and how it has addressed the auditing standards and best practice. This service is charged on an hourly basis.
Book a training session
There's nothing like taking time to sharpen your tools. This is what training does - gives firms a chance to pause, take breath and look at alternative ways to do better work. Bad habits can be left behind and better ways learned. We carry out training in-house if required, combined by area for new users and smaller firms, and also from time to time carry out workshops around issues of special interest. There is a fee charged for training sessions.
Let us help with data migration or fee purchase
Sometimes firms hesitate adding all their work onto Audit Assistant because the time required for set up with many jobs can be unappealing. We can help with data migration and job setup - either just creating a bulk lot of clients with contact details, or by adding trial balance data. This is a custom service that depends on the specific need so contact us to discuss. We can also transfer jobs from another user in the case of sale and purchase of a block of fees. We can also connect firms either selling or wanting to buy a block of fees.
Tell us what you need from us
We're here to help! Any requests, ideas, or suggestion are appreciated. If you can see an opportunity for us to develop some new content that may have wider commercial value please get in touch. Or if you want a new feature or service just ask. If we have enough requests we will find a way.
Note that most of these ideas can also apply to your compilation work as well.
Please contact us to discuss further these ways we can partner with you to enhance your business and lifestyle.