author archive

Author Archive

AuditSense's Core-Level

AuditSense’s Core-Level “FAST” Public Training

November 13, 2012 |  by  |  Events  |  No Comments

Core-Level “FAST” Public Training

August 21 – 23, 2017
Tampa, FL

The goal of our Focused Auditor Skills Training (FAST) is simple – to increase your professionals’ skills in a cost‐effective manner. Each class is highly interactive, hands on, practical, and contains an ideal combination of auditing, accounting and interpersonal skills that will enable your professionals to better serve your clients….right away.

To further enhance this experience for our participants, these classes will occur at the same location during the same days. This format will allow your professionals to interact with multiple AuditSense instructors and build relationships with professionals from a variety of firms and levels of experience.

We will be offering the following classes in Tampa, FL:

  • Experienced Staff
  • Beginning InCharge
  • Experienced InCharge /Supervisor
  • Management Skills

Dates: August 21‐23, 2017 (24 CPE Hours)

Location: Westshore Embassy Suites ‐ 555 North Westshore Boulevard, Tampa, Florida 33609, (813‐875‐1555). We have negotiated a discounted room rate of $142 per night with the hotel. Information on how to make your hotel reservations will be sent once we receive your registration.

The tuition for each class is $1,050 per person and includes coffee, soft drinks, snacks, lunch and seminar materials. There is no advance preparation required, and participants do not need to bring any supplemental items with them. AuditSense is pleased to offer a 15% discount to PrimeGlobal members.  In addition, if you register by April 30th, 2017, you will receive an additional 5% discount. (Tuition must be paid my May 26, 2017 to receive the discount).

To register, simply complete the registration form in the PDF linked below. Upon receipt of your registration information, we will confirm your registration, provide instructions on how to reserve hotel rooms and invoice you for the training.

Thank you. We look forward to working with your professionals in Tampa.

Click here for Course Details and Registration Form

Share

Making Assumptions

March 7, 2011 |  by  |  Audits  |  No Comments

One of the things that can kill the effectiveness and efficiency of an audit engagement is making assumptions.  While they seem to save time at first, assumptions — if they turn out to be incorrect — can be quite harmful to an engagement.  Oftentimes, assumptions are made concerning the client, your staff, and how the audit will progress.  Some of the more common assumptions are as follows:

  1. The client will actually be ready on time.
  2. The staff professionals will be able to perform at a level that you will need them to perform, and detailed instructions will not be needed because the staff has been part of the firm for a year — despite the fact that this is a new industry for them.
  3. The client actually got the email that you sent and is vigorously working on putting together the requested schedules.
  4. The review will happen in the field as planned.
  5. There have been no changes in the general operations of the client.
  6. It is impossible to obtain data in an electronic form.
  7. The client personnel you will be working with will be knowledgeable, competent and available to you.
  8. The world of your client revolves around you for as many days as you are on-site during fieldwork.
  9. The time budgeted to perform the audit is sufficient, because there will be no major issues or roadblocks, and the budget was prepared properly.
  10. The files (whether electronic or hard copy) that you will need to complete the audit will look the same as in prior years, be stored in the same place and work the same way.

Yet another key to performing an audit in an effective and efficient manner is simply to take some time at the beginning of the engagement or, better yet, at the end of the prior year engagement and identify — perhaps with the client — ways in which the process could go smoother in the following year.

Back to Our Blog

Share

Are Evolving Modes of Communication Helping or Hurting Us?

November 17, 2010 |  by  |  Communication  |  No Comments

Whatever you want to call those handheld devices that once upon a time were referred to exclusively as telephones, there is no doubt that they are changing the way we communicate.  When we go to buy one now, we not only want to know about receptivity, but we also want to know the all the specs concerning memory, resolution, megapixels, and what generation of mobile technology it is using.  It is not just the camera, calendars, games, web access and apps that are diminishing our vocal use of the phone, it is written electronic communications as well.

Perhaps it is not surprising that a survey taken by Nielsen found that people in their 50’s and early 60’s tend to talk on the phone as much as they ever did.  On the other hand, young adults, specifically 18 to 34 year olds, are talking on the phone substantially less, a fall from an average of 1200 to 900 minutes per month over the past two years.  During that same time period, there was an increase in the average number of text messages from 600 to more than 1400 per month in that same age group.  The reason given for this is that they feel the more personal nature of a phone call gives them less control over the communication than the more impersonal text message or email.  They also feel that phone calls are more interruptive to the other party than an incoming text message.

While the progress we have made technologically is fantastic, it appears that live, person-to-person voice communication is on a steep downslope.  The question is does this help us or hurt us in our profession?

As with every debate, there are clearly two sides to the issue.  On the one hand, text messaging and emails do have their place.  First, they provide a record of the communication that can be invaluable.  For example, if you have given instructions to your team by email, you have that documentation to refer back to if a conflict arises.  Furthermore, emails can save a lot of time when you need to get clarification on an issue from a client that is not too complicated and has a short answer.

Where emails are not appropriate is when they are used as a substitute for calling in order to avoid speaking directly with a client.  That would not be the best approach for someone wanting to maintain or even improve client relations.  There may be times that it is unpleasant to call clients, especially if you are bringing them some bad news.  However, by not talking directly with them, you may miss certain opportunities with your clients such as:

  • solving problems that arise in the fastest and most efficient way possible — one phone call may save you a lot of time spent receiving and answering multiple emails,
  • learning more about your client’s business, thereby gaining more rapport with your client — the client may say things in person that he/she would not necessarily elaborate on in an email, and
  • adding timely value through your conversation and leaving the door open for additional work from your client.

I hear many times that newer staff are just too quick in sending email requests for information from clients as opposed to picking up the phone and having a real-time conversation with them.  Frankly, I think that we are all guilty of taking the easy, least-effective way sometimes when it comes to communications with other people.

I would be interested in what you think of this subject.  How would you handle it if it was to go the other way in that a client preferred emailing you, and he/she never returned your telephone calls?

Back to Our Blog

Share

Flying Your Plane

April 27, 2010 |  by  |  Personal Development  |  No Comments

No matter how many years they have flown, every pilot knows that the most critical time for any flight is during takeoff and landing. Procedures must be followed and checklists fully completed, including flight plan, weather review, and weight load and fuel level checks, to name a few.   While much of the actual flight can be put on autopilot, it would be foolish and dangerous to take anything for granted at the beginning and end of a flight.

Have you ever thought how much like a pilot you are? Instead of flying a plane, you are in charge of something even more valuable than a $100 million piece of equipment -– your thoughts and actions.

What do you do before you takeoff for the day? Do you know where you are going? Do you know how you are going to get there? Do you have the tools you need to accomplish your tasks?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Is your fuel level sufficient for what you need to accomplish? A good healthy breakfast will do wonders for your energy level after takeoff.
  • Your fuel will not last forever, so plan to replenish with small snacks throughout the day.
  • Do you know where you are going and the conditions at takeoff? What is the first action you take when you arrive at work? Is it something easy or difficult? Time management experts agree that getting a difficult item out of the way will give you a sense of accomplishment and enable you to focus on other tasks throughout the day.
  • What if something unexpected comes up? Pilots are trained to deal with the unexpected. However, when the things go awry in our daily lives, we usually complain, panic or go with the flow. Consider developing a checklist to consult when things go wrong. Your co-workers might think it’s a bit strange, but I bet you’ll be a heck of a lot more productive and calm when it counts.
  • Do you end your day in structured manner or do you just crash and burn when you run out of gas? Remember, landing is just as important as takeoff. Why not spend the last 30 minutes of your day in a structured manner? Review your accomplishments for the day and plan for tomorrow. This will make your takeoff the next day a lot smoother.

While we can never plan for everything, investing in a takeoff and landing plan can return excellent results for both you and your firm. I’d love to hear some of your ideas as well. What has worked for you?

Back to Our Blog

Share

No one likes to be managed – but collaborate, absolutely!

April 10, 2010 |  by  |  Client Service  |  No Comments

CPA firms have been looking for ways to improve their professional’s productivity since the days of the abacus. Technological advancements have certainly helped firms perform engagements in less time. However, no matter what technology is developed or professional standards are issued, the core concern in any professional services firm boils down to the fact that the client frequently throws a wrench in the best laid plans. I recently heard a CPA jokingly say, “If I did not have to deal with clients, I would have plenty of time to get my work done!”

We were all taught at the associate level to inform clients of the documents needed and the deadline for submission well in advance. But this is just the beginning of the process. The key question is what do you do when the client does not complete the items on your list as instructed. If you only had one client and did not have to worry about profitability or deadlines, the answer would be simple. Complete the work when they are ready. But since you’d go out of business with that philosophy, there has to be a better way.

Some call it client management; I like to call it client collaboration. Making your clients feel as if they are an integral part of the process is fundamental to success.

Client collaboration is a lot easier if you connect with the person you are working with at the client site.  I have news for you, if you do not enjoy working with your client, they can tell. It shows in your body language, your facial expressions, your voice and your actions.  If you appear to be bothered by them, they will respond in kind.

But all is not lost. You can do a variety of things to connect with your client and ensure a smoother process.

Client collaboration starts by building relationships. Oftentimes, clients view their auditor just like any other vendor. Your job is to change their opinion of you and your role so they recognize the value you bring to their company and see you as an important resource. Following are some simple things you can do to strengthen your client relationships.

  • Look for ways to help them out – on both a professional and personal level.
  • Go out of your way to help them.
  • No matter how busy you are – allocate some time every week to building and improving these relationships.

In his famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said that you cannot make someone do anything they do not want, and everyone wants to feel a degree of self-worth in whatever profession they work in.

 Letting the client know they are important to you and your firm is critical. Here are a few simple tips.  

  • Tell them you really enjoy working with them.
  • Send them a short handwritten thank you note after the engagement is completed.
  • A box of chocolates or similar item works wonders.

Be flexible in what you ask from your clients. This does not mean that they can ignore your requests, but asking them how “we can solve the problem together” works wonders. Let them know you share in their pain and are willing and able to help them.

Resiliency is also an important part of collaboration. If you have a setback – and you most likely will – regroup and plan how to get back on track.  Don’t hesitate to approach a more experienced partner or manager to get advice on the best way to handle the situation.

When you successfully collaborate with your clients, share these successes with the other professionals in your firm. If your tact works, repeat it.  If an idea does not work, don’t necessarily quit. It may be a great idea that just needs to be tweaked a bit, or it may work beautifully with another client.

Negotiate with the client by working through the situation step by step:

  • Ask a lot of open-ended questions. Find out why the information they promised has not yet been provided. Listen, listen and listen some more. Is there a hidden message in what they are sharing with you?
  • Show empathy towards their situation.  
  • Tactfully share your knowledge with them. Perhaps you experienced a similar situation with another client. How was the obstacle overcome?  Is there a technological solution that can help them prepare the information easier?
  • Be patient and show your concern for their situation, and collectively create an action plan that will work for both of you. Perhaps, they promised to prepare X.  You then offer to do Y.

I recently read a great article entitled “Changing your Tune.”  It was about a person who served on a company’s board of directors that simply didn’t get along with anyone. As the author said, “The only redemptive trait was how lovingly he spoke to, and about, his grandchildren. To hear him tell it, they actually loved him.”

See, everyone has a redeeming value – your challenge is to find it.

Back to Our Blog

Share