It’s auditing time! This can be an exciting, yet stressful time of year. Audits can cause a great deal of anxiety, require immense commitment and can take countless hours. There are, however, some key steps your nonprofit organization can take to ensure a successful, stress-free audit.
1. Schedule meetings with your auditor.
It is recommended that you meet with your auditor early to determine what they will need (e.g. reporting requirements); the timeline and resources that may be needed to support the audit. You should probably schedule recurring meetings throughout the year to stay on track with the timeline and goals.
2. Build-out audit reports throughout the year.
Upon meeting with your auditor on the specifics, you should review the existing reports in your nonprofit accounting software to determine if the pre-defined and/or user-defined reports meet the auditor’s requirements. Please feel free to contact Serenic Support/Consultants for assistance. Send sample reports to your auditor and ask for feedback. This avoids the organization rushing to hammer out a report at the last minute.
3. Review financial statements on a regular basis.
You should review the financial statements once a month to confirm accuracy. Setup a scheduled reminder using Microsoft® Outlook’s Task Manager, Microsoft Project, etc. to stay on task. Pay attention to your balance sheet. If the balance sheet is not up to par, more than likely the income statements will be off. Catching mistakes early can save valuable time that can be lost if you wait until the end of the year to review.
4. Reconcile payables and receivables.
Review the receivables and payables balances at least once a month. This can also be another time-saving tool if done in advance. Serenic Navigator has pre-defined reports that can aid you in this process. Take a look at the Aged Accounts Receivable, Aged Accounts Receivable by Fund, Aged Accounts Payable and/or Aged Accounts Payable by Fund reports.
5. Provide reports to department heads.
Provide financial and income statements to the department managers to keep them up to date on the financial status. Ask for feedback on any corrections that may needed.
6. Perform internal audits.
If you have the resources, you can hire an internal auditor to review the financial statements and work with the external auditors. This may help free up resources at the organization and ease the stress of the audit. If hiring an internal auditor is not feasible, look at designating a team with specific responsibilities for each person so that the staff isn’t feeling too overwhelmed. Schedule recurring meetings to discuss the financial statements and financial health of the organization.
Can you provide some other recommendations that have aided your organization in a successful audit?