When auditors come to the office, disruption can and often does occur. Here’s how to mitigate that disruption with ‘self-service’ auditing.
Here’s a painful reality: if you’re still using paper documents and manual handling for your AP and AR processes, a long-term visit from auditors can definitely throw a monkey wrench into day-to-day operations.
Diane Mashioff, Vice President and Corporate Controller for Corcentric, has had this experience many times over the years and is witness to the advantages realized when companies implement financial process automation. “If your AP and AR aren’t automated, you can end up spending a lot of time away from your desk, going through filing cabinets to search out requested paper documentation,” said Diane. “And the time lost carrying out those requests applies to management and staff alike. Because the reality is you still have to do your own job even while servicing auditor’s requests”
But Corcentric’s own automated solutions for accounts payable and accounts receivable have solved this issue to a great extent. That’s because auditors can be given online access to all the relevant data, enabling them to view the documentation they would have traditionally asked others to procure for them. As Diane notes, “We now have the tools to refocus the audit from manual processing to online.” Essentially, auditors have all the access they need to ‘grab’ the documents from a virtual filing cabinet.
In the paper-based past, according to Diane, she would have to check her in-box to see if the requested documents were there and if not, search them out on her team’s desks, and then have someone make copies of the requested documents to turn over to the auditors. The situation was exacerbated during those times she was visiting a satellite office and auditors in the corporate office would request documents, adding even more time to the process.
An automated solution would give auditors access to every aspect of a company’s financial transactions, essentially allowing them to do ‘self-service’ auditing. When it comes to accounts payable, auditors would have access not just to the status of each invoice in the AP cycle, but the backup documentation for that invoice as well as line item information. As far as checking a company’s expenses, auditors can immediately see who approved an expense, where and to what accounting period it was charged. And in the case of AR, auditors can view AR confirmations and verification of payments received along with supporting banking information directly online. Even more important, they can run a report online that will enable them to put in a cut-off date so that all documents reviewed would fall into the correct period. This gives all stakeholders confidence in the accuracy of the audit itself.
No one appreciates this more than Diane Mashioff. “Financial process automation has really mitigated the disruption that can occur when auditors are working out of your office. It cuts the labor-intensive efforts of searching out requested paper documents, making copies, and finding backup. And since time is money, our people end up spending too much time on non-value added tasks instead of focusing on areas that can help our company grow. Auditors also benefit by not having piles of paper on their desk that they need to go through, some of which they will need and some they will not. Their access to our system lets them call up what they need and only what they need. It’s made a huge difference for all of us.”
See how automating your financial processes can cut costs and time and increase accuracy.