As this firm discovered, Wolters Kluwer CCH Audit Automation software deals with an audit in basically the same way as using a paper file, making it easier for staff to adapt.
Mercer & Hole has three offices (in St Albans, London and Milton Keynes) and nineteen partners. The firm has a broad portfolio of business clients spread across a range of industries and a strong base of private clients, including a large number of trusts.
Their services include audit and assurance – where they specialise in charities and pensions – business development, due diligence, financial services and recovery and insolvency.
We implemented CCH Audit Automation in April 2009. Before then audits were done manually, following the Mercia methodology. Of course we used spreadsheets and word processed documents to keep track of things, but essentially it was a manual process so it generated a lot of paperwork.
Dealing with that amount of paperwork was a real nuisance, particularly because our practice is spread across four locations. Staff often travel between offices, which meant having to lug paper files around. We also insist on a second partner ethics review, whereby a partner in a different office has to check the files once the audit has been completed. We have a van that travels between our offices and we used to have to load this up with audit papers.
Now that the process has been computerised, all of this is a lot easier. Staff can access the work on their laptops and share files across the network.
An automated system also helps to reduce the risk that something can be overlooked because everything has to be ticked and signed off properly. You can tell at a glance what’s been done and what’s still outstanding; from a management and control point of view, that’s very useful.
CCH Audit Automation gives you the option of using different audit methodologies and we used the Mercia audit pack, because that’s what we were already using.
The software’s way of dealing with the audit is basically identical to the paper file and this made it much easier to computerise the process, because we didn’t have to change our way of working. If we’d had to learn a new audit methodology as well it would have been a lot more difficult.
Staff adapted to the new system very quickly. There was a little more work to do in Year 1 because we had to set up the static data, but not enough to have caused us any problems. By cutting out paperwork CCH Audit Automation has made the audit process more efficient and we are now saving time each year.
The update to the Clarified ISA version of the software went well and we had no issues of importance to report. Although Clarified ISAs meant new requirements had to be dealt with, the actual time costs of our audits did not increase. In part this is a reflection of the efficiency of the Wolters Kluwer software.