For many firms it is that time of year. The annual invasion of that group of mind numbing, routine interrupting, standards spouting unwelcome invaders – your independent auditors! And they are expensive! Reflectively they can make you want to trade their presence for an unannounced three month visit from your cantankerous incontinent father-in-law who never speaks directly to you and who for fifteen years has referred to you only as “him / her”. An article published in cfo.com, Auditor Angst, has some great points to not only help you survive, but to reduce the expense at the same time. While the article primarily focuses on what the company can/should do there is obviously a lot the auditors can do as well.
Demand that they communicate. Timing, needs and expectations, and cost. We are a fixed fee firm and use a Client Service Agreement to accomplish this. If your auditor bills by the hour it is even more critical to have a clear understanding in advance. Discuss significant transactions and new accounting standards with your audit firm before your year end. They can and should help you. Doing it wrong and then having to correct it causes unnecessary expense and delays. I know there has to be lots of gripes from the companies side. What’s your pet peeve(s)?