Preparing for an Audit – A Guide for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, to prepare for an audit can be daunting. However, understanding the purpose and process of an audit can help alleviate some of the stress. Audits are important for several reasons, and they play a vital role in maintaining transparency, accountability, and trust in financial reporting. The demand for audits in small businesses is constantly increasing, even with the recent audit exemptions introduced by the government. In fact, a recent study showed that 63% of companies would choose to have their accounts audited even if they were exempt.

At Nordens, we pride ourselves in offering a quality and comprehensive auditing service for businesses of all kinds. We understand the significance of meticulous scrutiny when it comes to auditing. Our dedicated Audit and Assurance division will comb through every detail with precision and care, ensuring compliance, accuracy, and the potential for genuine business growth. Whether your business is small or large, and regardless of the level of assistance you require, Nordens is here to provide the support you need in auditing and assurance.

We examine how small business owners can adequately prepare for an audit, and how to alleviate that audit anxiety…

How To Prepare For An Audit

Whether you need a financial audit, a compliance audit, or an operational audit, preparing for them involves largely the same planning. Here are a few steps you can follow:

Understand the Purpose of an Audit

An audit is an independent examination of your company’s financial records, systems, and processes to ensure accuracy, transparency, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations. The primary goal of an audit is to provide assurance to stakeholders, such as investors, lenders, and tax authorities, regarding the reliability of your financial statements.

Organise Your Financial Records

Before the audit, it is crucial to organise your financial records. Ensure that all transactions are accurately recorded, and supporting documentation is readily available. This includes bank statements, invoices, receipts, and any other relevant financial documents. By maintaining well-organised records, you can streamline the audit process to save time, money, and effort.

Review Internal Controls

Internal controls are procedures and policies designed to safeguard your business assets, ensuring accurate financial reporting and preventing fraud. As part of the audit preparation, evaluate your internal controls and address any weaknesses or deficiencies. This may involve implementing segregation of duties, tightening access controls, or improving documentation processes. Strong internal controls not only enhance the efficiency of your business operations but also instil confidence in the auditor.

Engage Professional Help

Consider seeking professional assistance from a qualified accountant or auditing firm like ourselves. The expertise exhibited can prove invaluable in navigating the complexities of the audit process. An experienced accountant like Nordens can review your financial statements, identify potential issues, and provide guidance on how to address them. Additionally, they can help you interpret audit findings and implement any necessary improvements to your financial reporting systems.

Familiarise Yourself with Auditing Standards

In the UK, audits must adhere to established auditing standards, such as those issued by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Take the time to familiarise yourself with these standards to understand the expectations and requirements. This will enable you to align your financial reporting practices with the auditing standards and minimise the risk of non-compliance. Likewise, you can also view our Nordens TV video explaining the importance of auditing transparency standards in the UK.

Perform a Self-Audit

Before the official audit, conduct a self-audit to identify and rectify any potential issues. Review your financial statements, perform reconciliations, and verify the accuracy of your records. This proactive approach will help you identify and address any discrepancies or errors ahead of time, ensuring a smoother audit process.

Be Prepared for the Auditor’s Questions

During the audit, expect the auditor to ask questions regarding your financial statements, transactions, and internal controls. Stay prepared by having a comprehensive understanding of your business operations and financial records. Be open and transparent in your responses, providing the necessary documentation to support your answers.

Preparing for an audit as a small business owner doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By following these steps and taking a proactive approach, you can ensure a successful and efficient audit process. Remember, audits are not meant to be punitive but rather to provide assurance and maintain the integrity of financial reporting.

We hope this has outlined to you how to appropriately prepare for an audit, and how Nordens can help you through this process. If you’d like to know any further information on anything mentioned, or anything accounting related for that matter, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at Nordens, where one of our trusted advisors would be happy talking you through your query.