‘Remote audit’. It’s a term you’ve probably seen more and more recently. And it’s a term we’ve been using more and more, too. But what exactly does it mean?
A remote audit is, well, exactly that – an audit done remotely. And it’s made possible by using technology such as Microsoft Teams to hold meetings, share information, and collaborate with your audit team.
Microsoft Teams has inbuilt video calls, screen sharing, and the ability to co-edit documents simultaneously. So, we can both work on the same document – and talk about it – in real time. As if we were across the desk from each other.
A remote audit gives you the same consistent teams, and the same levels of observation, verification and procedures, with no compromise on quality.
Squashing the misconceptions
Thanks to the above features, a remote audit is not faceless or without any human interaction. And it’s not a way of scrimping on audit evidence – or cutting corners.
Both our audit quality – and the quality of our relationship with you – remain front and centre in our minds. Now, more than ever.
We know how important consistent teams are to your audit experience. So, we make sure that’s the case – throughout the audit – and year on year. You’ll stay connected with them through regular phone and video calls, building the same relationships, and getting the same interaction and updates on your audit’s progression.
You won’t be getting bombarded with unexpected calls and requests. We know a lot of people’s working hours have changed recently, with childcare and other commitments in the picture. So, we’ll agree how you want the audit to work up front. And then, going forwards, we’ll give you plenty of notice about what we want to talk about, what we need from you, and the best way to share information.
Sure, it’s a different way of working
But it will get you thinking about how you can get the most out of your audit, with the least disruption. We’ve worked remotely with lots of our clients for years now. We won’t be taking up your desks, meeting rooms and parking spaces unnecessarily. We know what questions to ask. And we know how to get through your audit with quality and efficiency side by side.
Microsoft Teams is a big part of that. It doubles up as a SharePoint site, keeping everything in one place and making it easy to comment and collaborate on documents to deal with any queries. It has an instant messaging feature, reducing email traffic for everyone. And for more in-depth conversations and meetings, the high-quality video calls remove any need to be in the room together.
Privacy and confidentiality are promised as it uses Microsoft’s secure platforms. And only those with permission to see the conversations or files are invited to join.
To find out more about the whole range of benefits that remote audits bring, check out this link.
We’re not that techy – can a remote audit still work?
Of course. If you haven’t used Microsoft Teams before, no sweat. We’ll work with you to set up a Teams site, helping you get to grips with it and answering any questions along the way.
We’ve worked remotely with a long list of clients, across the whole digital spectrum. From cloud-based tech whizzes, all the way through to businesses using old school accounts software that can’t be accessed remotely or downloaded into neat, useable files. Sometimes, we even need a dot matrix printer to get our hands on the reports (they’re still out there!).
So, whatever tech you’re working with, a remote audit is always an option. And if we have to visit your office to collect paper files, we can – all while observing social distancing.
Getting ready for your remote audit
As is the case with any remote work, the key to a successful remote audit lies in consistent, two-way communication.
That starts at the planning stage, where we’ll ask you questions about how you want to work together, how we’ll access your information, and the deadlines and timescales we’re working to.
You’ll need to understand what capacity your team has to support you if any of them are on reduced hours or furloughed. An audit often involves talking to different people across your wider business – something to bear in mind when we’re planning the audit together.
You’ll also need to understand your IT landscape. Can your software or networks be accessed remotely? Can you download all the files you need to share with your auditors?
And finally, you’ll need to talk to your auditor about any physical records or assets you have, so you can get a plan together on how they can be accessed and verified. We’ve put together this article covering remote stocktakes in more detail. And if you’ve got any questions about how a remote audit would work for your business, we’d love to chat.