Top 3 actions to take before the 2019 busy season
[This post was authored by Stuart Cobbe, CA, Customer Success Manager EMEA, James Moffat, CPA, Director of Sales, Audit & Assurance, Western Region, and Gillian Fischer, Global Manager, Customer Advocacy]
To best prepare for the upcoming busy season using MindBridge Ai Auditor, we’ve prepared this list of key actions to take, based on feedback received from users and their clients. Take note, plan your actions, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help.
- Prepare your client and their data
- Risk assessment and planning
- Engage the MindBridge customer success team as early as possible
Prepare your client for AI-based audit
Planning and communicating with your client during busy season is always a good practice and it’s even more critical for firms going through their first artificial intelligence-based audit. Most of the steps will be familiar, some are new, so you want to make sure that everyone’s on the same page as far as activities, expectations, and goals.
Key to working with Ai Auditor is letting your client know that you’re moving to a data-driven audit approach this year and that the earlier their data is submitted, the more effective the audit. Often, clients aren’t as prepared as auditors would like them to be, so consider these initial activities to get them up to speed:
- Have the conversation that this audit makes use of artificial intelligence technology to provide 100% transaction coverage and to identify anomalies and risk areas in their data that may have been missed by their accountant or controller. Not only is this better for your firm’s brand, it boosts your client’s credibility.
- Obtain and ingest your client’s data into Ai Auditor as soon as possible. Often it takes a few times to get the right data from your client’s IT team (such as knowing what fields to export) and different enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems require different amounts of effort to extract the information. Our Customer Success Managers (CSM) are always available to help and by engaging their expertise early, any issues in getting the data from client systems into Ai Auditor can be resolved before it’s too late, better preparing all teams for a more efficient audit later.
- To support the analytics/graphs/ratio and forecast and trending data in Ai Auditor, we recommend that you obtain the current year plus four prior years worth of client data. These insights will be something new for your client and provide much-needed value.
These critical early efforts during busy season will ensure that the transition to a data-driven audit will be smooth for both you and your client.
Risk assessment and planning
Planning for an audit is often performed in a black box, where the auditor has very little insight into client operations until the data is received and even then, assessment can be a difficult process. Using Ai Auditor gives you a deeper level of insights into client data than traditional methods and makes planning more effective, so consider these actions:
- Prepare for your initial discussions with the senior finance official by running their data through Ai Auditor to better understand their profile and identify areas of interest to have conversations about. Not only does this demonstrate your knowledge of the client’s operations, it helps to have any difficult conversations early rather than waiting until the rush of the audit process.
- Once client data is loaded, prepare the audit plan, create the necessary tests, and save them all in Ai Auditor using the Filter Builder feature. Performing a risk assessment of your client’s data will identify areas to test during the audit and helps create the test plans to execute. Reviewing the analytics, ratios, and graphs with current and past data will call out any items that need to be addressed during the audit. Using the Filter Builder feature allows you to create any standard tests, such as Journal Entry testing, selection of AP and AR confirmations, etc., and save them to be used once the final data is ingested – saving a tremendous amount of time. It’s also good to know that any sample selected for existence (also known as selecting from the system) can be chosen within Ai Auditor.
- From a fieldwork perspective, having client data within Ai Auditor allows you to do all your audit tracing through to the platform, saving you time and the need to go back to your client for additional clarifications.
Engage our customer success team early
A common theme here is to contact your assigned CSM as early as possible, to ensure a smooth data export and import, understand the features available to you in Ai Auditor, and to best prepare for client conversations and reporting. The first step is to let your CSM know when to expect your client’s data, to help with planning during busy season.
We’re here to help and we have plenty of experience across different ERP systems, environments, and types of clients, so to avoid any pain down the road, engaging earlier helps us all.
Contact us now to get started with your busy season planning.