Christina Russell, CPA, CA
Monday at a New Audit Client
People on the outside looking into the accounting world often assume I sit at my desk all day and crunch numbers, however, what they don’t realize is how much emphasis is places on interpersonal skills, and the ability to work as part of a team. Here is an example of a first day performing an audit at the offices of a new municipal client:
07:30Arrive at the office and hold a brief recap of our audit planning meeting from the Friday before with the engagement partner and team to reiterate our audit approach and areas of focus.
08:00We drive out to the client as a team, on the way, discussing the NHL standings and who is winning in our office hockey pool.
08:30We arrive at the client and are shown to the boardroom where we will be set up for the next couple of weeks.
08:45The finance officer introduces herself and takes us on a tour of the office. We meet the administrative staff, the finance staff, public works staff, and many other key personnel. We meet about 20 different staff members and make sure that we document all their names, their department, and key duties while on tour.
09:15I start my work on documenting purchases, payables and payments system, also known as P/P/P. As I document the systems I sit down with the finance team and discuss all the controls they have in place. This includes anything from placing purchase orders to paying bills, and reconciling the bank. One benefit of spending time in the client’s office is that we have the opportunity to get to know each other on both a personal and professional level.
11:00Based on the discussions I had with the finance staff and a review of the policies in place, I design a test to test the client’s controls and start to document potential recommendations that will help strengthen the internal control process.
12:00We break for lunch and walk to one of the small town’s busiest restaurants. Another client meets us there for lunch as well. This restaurant has everything on the menu from Chinese to Pizza. We have a few laughs at lunch and walk back to the job site for 1pm.
13:00I select a sample of payments from the client’s cheque register and start my test. While I wait for the invoices and documents I need to be pulled, I review the bank statements and monthly reconciliations.
15:30We stop what we are doing and give the partner a status update. We also update the client on what information we will be needing to start day 2 and who we will need to meet with.
16:00The client is packing up, so we need to do the same. We talk about how day 1 went and our plans for day 2 in the car on the way back to the office.
16:15Catch up on a few emails and work on an audit report for another partner’s client. I review the partner’s questions and update the audit report to reflect the new information.
16:30I am done for the day and head to the gym!