Over time, the needs of your business grow and change. As a result, relationships and partnerships change as well — including the relationship between companies and auditors.
Financial auditors play an important role in reviewing your company’s history, but they can also assist in mapping out strategies for the future. Executive teams can rely on auditors to provide the data and insight you need to make strategic business decisions.
Switching auditors is a big step, but pivoting to a different auditor can aid your business as you grow or your core processes change. Before you decide to switch auditors, here are six questions to ask to ensure you’re making the best decision for your company.
1. Is Your Business Growing?
The first and most obvious reason to switch auditors is that your business is growing. A new auditor can help in at least two distinct ways.
First, a growing business means higher sales volume, which can add to your accounting and bookkeeping demands. You need an auditor who can help you manage your more complex financial processes as well as properly assess assets like inventory and equipment.
Second, growing businesses also expand geographically, which creates unusual challenges for business owners. You may need to adhere to different compliance standards for each state that you operate in. You’ll need the assistance of an auditor who is familiar with these geographic requirements and can help you bring yourself into alignment with them.
2. Are You Changing or Adding Services to Your Business?
As your business grows, you may consider adding additional or technical services, or even adding new sales channels. Diversifying your product line can bring in new revenue streams, but this can also create challenges for your business and financial team.
More specifically, you may need an auditor who has knowledge and experience handling the needs of your industry as well as the evolving nature of your business. The right auditor can provide insight on how to expand these revenue streams organically so that your business can scale at a manageable pace.
Auditors can also offer guidance on how to minimize the internal costs associated with business growth, which can provide you with the working capital you need to reinvest in the business.
3. Does Your Current Auditor Give You the Attention You Need?
Your leadership team may discover that as your business grows, your current auditing team simply can’t devote enough time to your changing needs.
For instance, you may find that a single auditor simply lacks the bandwidth to cover the full range of your company’s financial needs. Additionally, as you diversify your services and sales channels, a single auditor may not be able to provide the specialized attention your company deserves.
That’s why many companies pivot away from a model devoted to a single auditor and instead turn to the services of a full-service financial firm. Outsourcing your company’s needs to an entire firm will provide you with the skills and attention needed to keep your company thriving.
Most firms can also work alongside your board, ensuring that their services align with your company’s values and goals.
4. How Well Does Your Current Auditor Communicate?
Are you receiving the communication you need from your current auditor? This, of course, relates back to the attention that your company needs. Growing businesses need an auditing team that gives them the appropriate amount of attention, including the right amount of communication to keep the business moving in a healthy, positive direction.
That said, communication is always a two-way street. It’s important for executive boards to find an auditing service that will listen to their needs so it can provide services that best align with the corporate vision.
After all, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to business. Finding an auditing team that communicates well will promote collaboration and customized solutions that fit your business needs.
5. What Is the ROI on Your Auditing Service?
What exactly is the value of your current auditing service? Here is where corporate boards need to be very specific about both the quantitative and qualitative metrics that determine the ROI of the auditing service.
For instance, if your auditor has provided advice that translated into savings, then you can more easily compare this to the fee structure of the auditor.
Qualitative results are a bit harder to measure. Think about ways that the auditor may have streamlined certain business processes or helped you think differently about a particular challenge. These, too, are valuable services and may be worth the fees associated with an auditor or auditing team.
Be careful, however — as your needs grow, so do the fees of most auditors, so always consider future costs against the potential for continued benefits.
6. How Confident Are You in Your Current Auditor’s Abilities?
The final question is perhaps the most important, as it relates directly to the confidence your team has in your auditor’s abilities. Consider such factors as:
- The audit firm’s quality control measures
- The quality of the customer service you receive
- The frequency and clarity of your interactions
- The auditor’s reputation among other companies of your size/industry
- The ability of the auditor to provide objective insight
Should you consider switching to another auditing service, your new provider may be able to answer some of these questions up front. Some providers even offer a preliminary trial period, during which your board can get a greater feel for the type and quality of the services a new auditor may provide.
Change Can Be Good for Business
They say that change is good for the soul. It can also be good for your company. Executive teams should ask the above questions at least once each year, ensuring that the current auditing teams and procedures are working in the company’s best interests.
Sometimes it’s less about finding a superior provider and more about getting a fresh perspective on your company’s financials. Switching auditors can be a helpful decision that pays off in long-term results.