Tips for Maintaining Happy Clients as an External Auditor
Published: 26 Jul 2013 By CareersinAudit
External Auditors are hired by companies or organisations to carry out independent audits based on specific laws and ensure that financial reporting is aligned with generally accepted auditing guidelines. Users of financial information such as government agencies, shareholders, and the general public rely on external auditors to provide impartial, unbiased audit reports.
As an external auditor, your main client is the company that you are auditing, primarily because they are the ones who pay for the audit. However, your work also benefits the shareholders and the general public who have an interest in the company’s financial records. It is part of your job to ensure that everybody is happy with your service and that your report presents a true and fair representation of the company’s financial activities.
Here are some of our top tips on how to keep your external audit clients happy:
Be professional at all times. Five important aspects of professionalism are: attitude, character, competency, excellence, and conduct. These five factors cover important concepts such as being accountable and being responsible. It also means showing respect not just to clients but also to co-workers. This also means doing the ‘right thing’ and projecting a professional image at all times.
A true professional knows how to effectively develop stronger relationships and at the same time, earn the respect of clients and colleagues.
Also, given that auditors have dual relationship with shareholders and a company, it is very important that they strictly adhere to the fundamental principles of independence and objectivity. They are expected to remain independent of directors and other entities.
Pay close attention to detail. As an external auditor, paying close attention to detail is very important in order to accomplish your task effectively. This means being thorough while carrying out your assigned tasks by paying attention to all the areas involved, no matter how tiny. You are also expected to monitor and check information to ensure that the information is accurate. In addition, you must organise your time and your resources efficiently.
Have great communication skills. Some clients can feel uneasy when the external auditors are in. After all, you are there to check that they are doing all the right things when it comes to financial reporting. Your task is to scrutinise their work and find mismanagement, if there is any. Although the client may be nervous about your presence (even if they’ve done everything correctly) this shouldn’t hinder you from trying to keep them happy. The best thing that you can do is to make sure you communicate with your clients clearly and respectfully.
Find ways on how you can send your message across without alienating them. Learn to praise the things that they’re doing properly and remind them of the areas that need improvement. Be courteous at all times.
Deliver great results. External auditors are hired for a reason – to help organisations improve policies and procedure – focus on doing that. Report for work with the aim to deliver what is expected of you. Properly review, analyse, and evaluate products, services, processes, systems, employees, and organisations. Avoid doing tasks that are not aligned with your goals so you can avoid wasting precious time and resources.
Report fraud and mismanagement. Some external auditors are reluctant to report fraud and mismanagement because this may show the organisation that they are auditing in a bad light. If their audit report does not match the organisation’s own financial statement, the organisation can face serious consequences. Their investors may pull out their investments or they may not be allowed to continue doing business.
This is something that you need to take seriously. As an auditor, it’s important that you stick with principles because aside from the organisation, you also have the responsibility to the government, shareholders, and other entities that need to know the real financial standing of the company.
Be competent. This is the most important factor to consider when you’re trying to please your clients as an external auditor. Being able to assure clients that you have what it takes to do the job is often enough for them to hire and re-hire you. Aside from bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or business, you must also have certifications and required experience. Being exposed to different auditing practices and learning from experts will help you offer clients great results.
Be a team player. Most of the clients that you will audit have in-house auditors. You need to work closely with these internal auditors to minimise duplication of effort and to potentially save time and resources. These professionals can help you with gathering data that is related to the organisation’s financial reports and other information. Sometimes, internal and external auditors can have a hard time establishing a harmonious working relationship. If you can avoid that from happening through effective communication and your people skills, you are more likely to deliver great results in no time.