Despite previously being conducted entirely on-site, the preference for completing an audit has shifted to an online approach.

The concept of an online audit is not new, with small and micro-organisations previously having their audits completed remotely. However, since 2020, there has been a dramatic shift towards remotely conducted audits as a preference for larger organisations.

The ability to return to on-site audits in 2022 has allowed for a mix of both on-site and remote work, which we believe has had a positive impact on the client experience. When deciding on which audit style is best for you and your company, it is important to choose an experience that is best suited to the nature of your business.

The Benefits of Remote Audits

There are a number of benefits associated with conducting a remote audit for your business;

1. Utilisation of Online Tools

At Davidsons, we use Caseware Xtend when conducting both on-site and remote audits. This tool enables us to send our clients information requests, and receive their responses through a single collaboration platform. Not only does this keep documentation all in one place, but it also provides peace of mind that requests and storage of client data will be secure throughout the audit engagement.

2. Time Efficient

Granting remote access to your business systems may reduce the time needed to prepare an audit as the auditors can extract and review the required reports themselves. Further, giving auditors direct access to your business information can reduce the number of queries asked throughout the process.

Remote audits can additionally be time-saving as auditors can complete the work from their usual environment meaning there is little, to no, associated travel.

3. Flexibility for your schedule and business

Conducting a remote audit offers flexibility to suit you and your business. If your day-to-day work means you cannot devote a full day (or longer depending on the size of the audit) to answering questions and requests for information, then a remote audit would help alleviate these pressures as the auditing team can message you their queries, allowing you to respond in your own time.

Further considerations should be taken regarding the space and strucutre of your business, including:

  • Staff working arrangements: if your staff are operating remotely, having auditors onsite may not be suitable. The auditing team can schedule video calls to discuss their queries with you that will suit you and your team’s schedules;
  • Suitable space: when conducting an onsite audit, auditors need a dedicated space to work from. If you have limited space available, a remote audit may be best; and
  • Location: if your business is located a significant distance from the auditors’ head office, then you may incur additional costs to cover the travel and accomodation of the auditors. Conducting an online audit will eliminate the need for travel, minimising these associated costs.

The Benefits of On-Site Audits

Despite there being numerous benefits to completing your business audit off-site, there are many reasons to complete your audit on-site;

1. Greater Understanding of Business

With an abundance of information to collate when completing an audit, being on-site allows auditors to view your business in real time. Being able to physcially view your business operations, systems, new purchases and/or installations allows auditors to have a greater understanding of how your business functions, helping them to build a relationship with you and ultimately complete your audit.

Please note: it is especially cruicial for auditors to have an understanding of your business operations, especially when your business has gone through signficiant changes.

2. Opportunity for Direct Communication

When completing an on-site audit, there is the opportunity for auditors to directly ask you questions, request further information, or discuss areas of your business that may need further explanation or demonstration (if the information is not already provided). By asking these questions directly in person, that means information can be gathered timely and directly.

Additionally, if you prefer to meet with your meet face to face with your auditors, an on-site audit provides this opportunity.

3. Technology Friendly

If your business documentation is stored physically, you may have to digitally convert your files and upload them in order to complete a remote audit. Conversely, if you are completing an on-site audit you will be able to present your business information in person to your auditors, which will save you time when you are preparing for your audit.

Additionally, if you are not using the most up to date technology, such as Caseware Xtend, then completing an on-site audit will be most suitable for you as you will not have to download a new platform.

However, if you are interested in updating your business technology (accounting or auditing) ahead of your next audit, you could potentially benefit from our Bookkeeping Services.

Can I have a combination of an On-Site and Remote Audit?

As we completed audits both Remotely and On-site throughout 2022, we found that a majority of our clients have benefited from a combined approach of both on-site and remote auditing.

For a combined approach we usually spend 1 day of the audit visit on site (usually the first day), and conduct the remainder of the audit remotely. This approach can strategically reap the benefits of both an onsite visit and a remote visit.

However, if you find that your business will would benefit more from a remote or an onsite audit then we are able to meet your needs with the best audit experience for you.

Book your next Audit with us!

If your business is due for its next audit, then we are here to guide you through the process. To be put in touch with our audit team, please contact our offices on 03 5221 6399 or at info@davidsons.com.au.

Let us know which audit style will work for your business, and we look forward to hearing from you.

This article was written by Graduate Accountant Charlie Sarcevic.

Would you like to stay up to date on the latest accounting information impacting businesses from Geelong and the Surfcoast? Sign up for our monthly newsletter ‘The General Account’ by clicking here.