Knowledge-based audit methodology and integrated software solutions help firm standardize processes to ensure consistency and quality of audits.
The next profile in the Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting series showcasing future-ready firms achieving peak performance by embracing digital transformation spotlights Eide Bailly, LLP. Founded more than a century ago in Fargo, North Dakota, the firm today spans over 40 offices across 15 states and provides a broad range of audit & assurance, consulting, tax, and business strategy & outsourcing services to clients representing many industry sectors, including government, healthcare, financial institutions, nonprofit, and manufacturing & distribution.
For more than a decade, Eide Bailly, LLP has been making continued investments to modernize its operations and grow the assurance & audit practice by embracing digital transformation. The firm chose to implement the Integrated Audit Approach from Wolters Kluwer and transform its audit methodology to standardize processes across 40 offices, ensure consistency & quality of audits in compliance with audit standards, and drive efficiency in the audit workflow while streamlining training and onboarding of new staff.
“Having a standardized process across our office ensures that if you pick up a file from our Minneapolis office, from our Fargo office, whichever office that may be, you’re following the same audit methodology,” said Ann Glenz, CPA, Partner in National Assurance Practice, Eide Bailly, LLP. “We strive to have that consistency across offices. We like our folks to be able to work with people from other offices, travel to other locations, just really get out and explore the firm. To have that consistency across the firm with our audit methodology and how an audit looks from one location to the next is very important.”
Wolters Kluwer Integrated Audit Approach focuses the audit process on auditor judgment. It facilitates their ability to make informed decisions by ensuring that the audit is tailored for each client, always having a link to the assessed risk and the work performed. This unique approach focuses on the entire end-to-end workflow to maximize efficiencies and guide firms to a higher quality audit without over or under auditing. It combines powerful content-driven tools of CCH® ProSystem fx® Knowledge Coach, the efficiency of CCH® ProSystem fx® Engagement and TeamMate® Analytics, with the comprehensive content of CCH® Accounting Research Manager®, giving auditors a single platform to handle all steps in the audit engagement.
“The integrated audit approach positively impacts quality, efficiencies, and effectiveness. We have one solution that combines everything together. That togetherness just eases the training aspect of it, makes promoting use of all the different tools that we have much easier, and gets people on board faster when they realize that this isn’t just another thing they have to learn. It's going to make their audit better,” explains Glenz.
One of the biggest challenges that the accounting profession and Eide Bailly, LLP face today is data. “It's data, data, data,” Glenz says. “You have all this financial information for the client, so how can you best attack it, approach it, and audit it? What type of analysis can you layer on top with all this information that we have so you can perform a more effective and efficient audit?”
To help make maximum use of their client data, Eide Bailly, LLP recently incorporated analytics into the audit workflow with the help of TeamMate® Analytics, which offers over 150 tools specifically designed to meet the analytical needs of CPA firm auditors and accountants. These easy to use tools are Microsoft Excel-based, support analytic testing with configurable modules that automate audit tests, provide visualization of results, and offer an in-depth test library with guidance on how to interpret test results.
“We're dealing with massive amounts of financial information from our clients. We're humans and we're just not able to get through it all or see the big picture in certain areas. TeamMate Analytics really helps enhance that by picking out things that the human eye couldn't see or that we might have just glossed over, and by pulling up a red flag in some of the tests that we are using,” added Glenz.
“The unique integrated audit approach developed by Wolters Kluwer helps firms like Eide Bailly, LLP produce higher quality audits by improving their efficiency through dynamic, iterative processes and tools that encourage auditor judgment and continual learning,“ said Cathy Rowe, CPA, CA and Director of Accounting and Audit Product Management at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting North America. “Our Knowledge-based Audit Methodology is a dynamic auditing process developed specifically in response to the AICPA’s risk assessment standards. Auditors can plan and produce higher quality audits based on continuous knowledge gathering and reflection to both minimize compliance risk and maximize their effectiveness and efficiency.”
Watch this short video to learn more about why Eide Bailly, LLP chose to implement the Wolters Kluwer Integrated Audit Approach and the software solutions that support it to standardize the audit process across offices and ensure consistency and quality of its audit & assurance services. Hear additional stories from firms that are achieving peak performance with proven solutions from Wolters Kluwer.