As the manager of a nonprofit organization, you’re probably all-too familiar with the paperwork aspect of the annual nonprofit audit. Documents must be managed, maintained, and updated, and everything prepared for the auditors.
There’s a second part of managing the audit process that’s equally as important: managing the people who are part of the audit. To help you with this aspect of auditing, we’ve put together the following tips.
- Make sure you schedule the audit well in advance of any deadlines. Be sure to set aside enough time for your staff so that they can be available to assist the auditors in any way necessary.
- Contact the auditing firm and confirm that the dates for the audit are available. Auditors’ schedules may be booked months in advance. Be sure to confirm again the week prior to the scheduled audit to ensure nothing has slipped through the cracks.
- When scheduling your audit, offer three days and times that work for all. Allow the auditors to choose the one that works best for them.
- Clear calendars to make sure no offsite or other meetings will interfere with the audit schedule.
- Provide a clean, private, well-lit workspace for the auditors to use while they are at your company.
- Create the necessary computer and WIFI access in advance so it is ready for the auditors immediately.
- Ensure that a telephone line is also available for the auditors.
- If parking spaces are reserved at your building, make sure you take the necessary steps to secure parking spots for the auditors.
- Provide them with directions on how to get to your building.
- Inform the internal staff that an audit is taking place. Reassure them that it is both a necessary and beneficial aspect of nonprofit management – it’s not like a personal IRS audit, but more of a consultation to ensure that your nonprofit is operating correctly.
- Make sure that staff understands they can’t use conference rooms or other workspaces that the auditors are using during the week.
- Ask staff not to interrupt the auditors while they are working.
Following Up on the Audit
Once the audit is over, it will take your firm several weeks to prepare the materials and provide them to you. Take time to review them and discuss the findings with the auditors. The final report can then be presented to your Board of Directors.
As a final step, share the audit with your entire team. Although not required as part of a nonprofit audit, the more information that you can share with your staff, the better they will understand what’s going on within the organization as a whole. They’ll feel invested in the outcomes and better informed about the financial aspects of the organization. The more information they have, the better they can do their jobs.
Preparing for an audit can be stressful, but if you’re organized and take the appropriate steps, you can ensure that the entire audit process from start to finish goes smoothly. Both your auditors and your Board will thank you for the extra effort made to ensure a streamlined process.
Welter Consulting offers auditing as one of our core services for nonprofits. Our experience encompasses audits, consulting, software selection and more for the nonprofit industry. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for an appointment.