Business Finances

Steps to Prepare Your Small Business for Audits   

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Written by Quentin Hack

You’re anxiously closing the company books, ensuring that the debits and credits have been balanced, and searching for the missing invoices. You have this nervous look on your face as you check the business bank account and the clock. For this audit season, there is no need at all to be in such a frenzied state.

These top tips are going to help your business prepare for any type of audit and potentially save time and money:

  1. Prioritize being audit-ready

The Federal Tax Authority and other regulatory authorities in the UAE can go back five or six years from the submission date of your return. This is why you should make sure that you maintain the proper files. Incomplete or disorganized records can cause the regulators or auditors to assume you have either made mistakes or worse, you are hiding something.

During the planning phases of an audit, auditors will usually send the list of data they require prior to when an engagement starts. Inquire from your external auditors in UAE the documentation or information necessary based on priority. Plan accordingly to ensure that excessive time isn’t taken away from the daily business operations. You can also try to be proactive by requesting what the regulators or auditors will need in advance.

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  1. Set up an audit calendar

Any successful project will always start with a buy-in from a team that will complete the work. A calendar is an excellent way in capturing the due dates for items, buy-in from the team, and more accountability. Make sure that you’re constantly reviewing the audit calendar with the team members before beginning any work. Also add some buffer to your schedule just in case there is something that is taking longer than anticipated.

  1. Assign work appropriately

Any roll-forwards, supporting schedules, and reconciliations must be handled by people that know they’re responsible for them. Many supporting items should have already been completed as part of a financial period’s closing process. Make sure that everyone is absolutely clear on that. What you don’t want is for your employees to be overworked with some of the priority items overlooked. Conflicting work with multiple people doing one task can cost your business valuable resources.

  1. Conduct a self-review quality control

Prior to the closing of a financial period, prepare and review the financial statements. This can be useful and necessary in ensuring that your numbers make sure. It is also recommended that you get professional opinion on your financial statements. External auditors in UAE can ensure reasonability of your financial information and help identify the additional adjusting entries required before the closing of a financial period.

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  1. Always seek expert assistance

There are some transactions which are very complicated. Recording them gets even more complex, most especially when there is a requirement to do so in accordance to relevant accounting standards. It is best for an organization to deal with matters such as these even before a scheduled audit. This can prevent scramming and unnecessary delays in preparing for an audit. If you’ve already been scheduled for an audit and your accounts are not organized, it is absolutely critical that you consult with an audit firm in Dubai/UAE immediately.

  1. Create digital data rooms for your business

Making use of digital data rooms will allow you in sharing your files easily with the local regulatory authorities. If you hire a team of external auditors in UAE, you can also leverage their digital data rooms. It is important that you make sure your staff members are all clear on your standards for consistent file naming convention. This will make it easier for you to find the documentation that you need. Take note: emails are often a recipe for tragedy when trying to make sure that key financial information doesn’t get lost in your daily shuffle.

  1. Put an emphasis on effective communication

Everyone in your business has to know and fully understand that a request for audit is the priority of accounting and finance professionals during a specific period. This is until there are other requests that require urgent attention. Time-sensitive requests for diligence and board requests would only be the ones that can take precedence. It’s also important that you are very careful with your time and commitments. Remember that closing a financial period and a subsequent audit will require lots of time for a business to prepare. If possible, set up everyone within your organization for success. You can do so by ensuring that your other commitments are kept to the absolute minimum during this time.

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  1. Provide daily updates

Make sure that you provide the key employees helping you prepare for an audit with regular updates. They have to be made well aware of their work progress. If work’s running behind schedule, seek help from external or financial auditors in Dubai/UAE to eliminate bottlenecks and roadblocks.

  1. Remain updated

Schedule regular update meetings with your external or internal auditors in UAE as it can help you determine any outstanding information, as well as the follow up queries that they may have. It will ensure that everyone stays on the exact same page with no break in the communication.

  1. Make yourself available

Key personnel for the audit who can assist the regulatory authorities during their audit fieldwork must ensure that their schedules are free. They must be available in gathering information requested by authorities and answering questions. Speak to your finance department and gain a much better understanding regarding the audit timeline as this can minimize the potential disruption to the workload of your employees.

Audits, regardless of whether it is internal or external, can feel tedious and complicated. However, they are productive processes for businesses to identify the internal control weaknesses. They also allow auditors the rare chance of providing some strategic recommendations in improving business performance. The steps mentioned earlier will help you when you acquire any type of audit engagement.

For more information on how to prepare your business for an audit in UAE, call the experts such as Farahat & Co!

About the author

Quentin Hack

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