This is the Blackbaud Community Best Practices blog.

A Former Auditor's Top Tips For A Smooth Audit

As a former non-profit auditor, now on the other side of the desk working for a non-profit, I am acutely aware of the time and effort spent on the annual audit process by all parties involved.

However, my experience as an auditor allows me to streamline my annual audit by using Blackbaud’s reporting tools, so I can minimize the pain and disruption to my organization’s operations.

Below, are my top two audit tips so you can ask your auditors, like I ask mine, “leaving so soon?”

Audit Tip #1:

Respond to audit questions quickly. Delaying your response to the auditors’ questions means they will put down your work and pick it up later after they get the requested information. By responding right away to questions, you will keep the auditors focused on completing your work quickly and efficiently.

Utilizing Blackbaud’s ability to save reports will allow you to remember the reports the auditors ask for, and in many cases, you will be able to just update the dates and re-run the report for them next year. Saving the report format and options will allow you to be prepared for their questions and have the answers at your fingertips. Your auditors will think you are a rockstar when you are able to answer their questions right away by running saved reports without spending hours recreating queries and report options.

Remember the auditors may be working nights and weekends to complete your work. Answering a question at 5:10 pm is better than answering at 8:00 am the next morning. Even though both responses may be sent before your next work day, the answer you gave could be what they need to complete a section of the audit before going home. With Blackbaud’s saved reports, there is no reason you cannot answer the question quickly, and still be home for dinner.

Audit Tip #2:

Answer audit questions completely. When the auditors send you a list of questions or items needed, answer the full list in your response. Answering just the easier items or sending back only a few of the items requested means the auditors are going to review what you sent and then re-send the remaining questions. My experience is the back and forth between the auditor and client is the biggest source of wasted audit time for everyone involved.

The good news is that Blackbaud’s reporting tools allow you to have all the necessary information readily available. Just go down the list of audit questions, and you will find many items can be answered by sending back a report – Trial Balance Report, check! – Aged Accounts Payable Report, check! – Bank Register, check!

Sending all the answers together, and noting which items are not applicable, rather than sending one or two answers at a time, will keep things efficient for both you and the auditor, because you will not have to track which questions are outstanding, and the auditor will not wonder when you will send the remaining items. The vast report options and customization available within Blackbaud’s products leaves little chance you will be unable to answer auditor questions completely.

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Work smarter not harder. Ultimately, the auditors are getting paid by your company to do their work, so be respectful of their time, and answer their questions quickly and completely for a smoother audit. Remember to utilize Blackbaud’s report options and save reports between audits because these will lead to the audit being completed efficiently for everyone. The auditors can get the information they need without you spending hours creating reports when you properly utilize Blackbaud’s reports. There is no sense in dragging out the audit process when you have the tools at your fingertips to accomplish the audit quickly and effectively and allow you to get back to accomplishing your organization’s primary mission. 

(Community Manager's Note: This is a blog entry into the Summer School contest. It has not been vetted by the Blackbaud Team for accuracy.)
Posted by Daniel Weaver on Jul 24, 2017 11:34 AM America/New_York

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I'm taking notes with the hope that this will aid us in the future.
  • Posted Tue 17 Apr 2018 04:14 PM EDT
Our audits have been getting better each year because of the donor material storage we have adopted. All material associated with the gift is stored by month and labeled with the batch number in an accessible box. The bank deposit is included for reconciliation. Finding the requested items and verifying the donor intent makes it all go smoothly. 
  • Posted Tue 05 Jun 2018 11:35 AM EDT
This was very helpful, thank you!
  • Posted Wed 18 Jul 2018 11:17 AM EDT
Thank you.
  • Posted Mon 23 Jul 2018 01:54 PM EDT