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Mauldin & Jenkins Financial Institutions Newsletter  |  August 2020
 
Why You and Your Team Should Consider Remote Audit and Advisory Services Next Year
Bill Curtis, CPA | Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC

Regular internal and external audits are a standard business necessity for most financial institutions. Even when not required by regulation, an independent audit or advisory service review offers valuable business insights along with validation of the company’s financial reporting or operational processes. The benefits are unquestionable, but they do come at a price: audits cause a certain amount of disruption and inconvenience, even when planned for and executed well. Remote audits are an alternative that can make the experience an easier and more efficient one for the institution as well as the audit team.

Conducting audits remotely is a relatively new possibility thanks to modern technology. In a sense, accounting firms are already performing remote audits as so much of the communication and transfer of documentation takes place electronically. Cloud computing platforms, secure portals and other high-tech strategies have become standard business mechanisms that allow audit teams to share and receive data with clients from any location; utilizing these familiar tools to facilitate completely or almost-completely remote audits is a logical next step.
Tools such as Suralink and Linkfile allow for a seamless and secure transfer of sensitive data. Zoom video conferencing technology allows us to interview employees, view documents, as well as to conduct interviews and walkthroughs where you receive a personal touch.  

But just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. So why would a company opt to have its services performed remotely rather than by an on-site team? Turn to the usual suspects behind business innovation: time and money. Remote audits hold significant advantage over the traditional on-site method in terms of hours and overall costs, which gives them an undeniable appeal to resource-conscious business leaders. Add in the potential for a higher quality end product, and remote audits start to look very attractive indeed.

First, there’s all that wasted travel time to consider. If the audit team includes three people traveling two-and-a-half hours to get to the client’s location and back, a common situation, fifteen more hours can be devoted to actual audit work when the need for travel vanishes. That’s a lot of reclaimed production time, not to mention the reduction in direct travel expenses billed to the client.

The team will also be more efficient working in their home office environment with all its tools and comforts - multiple monitors, high-speed internet, familiar scanners and copiers and all the rest. The result is fewer hours needed to complete the work, and probably faster turnaround times for the financial statements or advisory service reports company leaders are anxious to see.

Speaking of anxiety, eliminating the stress of hosting an on-site team and avoiding the inevitable disruption associated with their presence is another nice feature of remote audits. Auditors can proceed in the optimal location (their own office) while work at the client continues as usual, with no worries about where to fit the "tourists" or how to work around them. While business leaders are quick to recognize how this benefits their own team, it’s worth noting that less travel time and a comfortable, familiar audit environment help create a better work/life balance for audit staff, which can also contribute to better quality work for the client and continuity of the audit team.

Some audits can take place entirely in the digital realm, but most will still require some on-site time and in-person consultation. By maximizing remote capabilities for completing most of the work, on-site visits can be planned well in advance and reduced significantly – often to only a few days or even a single day. This much briefer period allows for more purposeful time spent together, encouraging focused communications that strengthen mutual understanding and help build the relationship.

Comprehensive planning and clear communications are absolute necessities for an efficient audit process, wherever the work is performed. With remote audits, these key elements take on even greater importance to ensure all details are attended to and workflow can continue on schedule. There are some challenges associated with a remote audit; access to documentation, security and privacy, and fraud discussions are just a few of the obstacles auditors face in a remote environment. Companies that choose a remote audit experience must commit to making audit prep, document organization and good communication a priority (all of which enhance the speed and success of on-site audits as well).

Remote audits and advisory services are trends that are gaining traction rapidly, and it’s easy to see why their popularity is growing. To find out more about preparing for remote services or learn other strategies to increase business efficiency, please contact the audit and advisory professionals at Mauldin & Jenkins.
SERVICE SPOTLIGHT

Remote Advisory Services
for Financial Institutions

The Advisory Services Trio spotlighted are required for most financial institutions. These can all be completed in a remote environment as can many other Advisory Services offered by Mauldin &Jenkins. Contact one of our professionals today to find out more!

Ron Mitchell, CPA
Financial Institutions Practice Leader

As we continue to try and get our economy restarted, new COVID cases continue to spike up in certain parts of the country. Congress is currently debating additional stimulus legislation as well as changes to streamline the initial PPP loan forgiveness program.

Mauldin and Jenkins continues to remain committed to helping our clients through these unprecedented times and to that end, we refer you to our website, which we continue to update as new information on existing, as well as any new legislation or programs, designed to help individuals and businesses during these trying times becomes available.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or needs we can help you with.
 
LATEST WEBINAR:
Ask Anything!: Allowance Calculations

The allowance for loan losses is generally a bank's largest single estimate. The COVID-19 pandemic means that not only are many bankers originating PPP loans and working with the SBA, they are also managing a portfolio of credits that may experience signs of distress.

Common questions are "how will this crisis affect my allowance calculation? What should I consider in my qualitative adjustments?" We are providing this opportunity to "Ask Us Anything" related to the allowance or other pandemic related issues you may have questions about.


Thank you to those who participated!
GLBA Compliance Review
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) requires the safeguarding of customer information and compliance is mandatory for all financial institutions. The scope of our GLBA Compliance Review is comprehensive and exceeds the minimum standards. The GLBA review is easily complimented with our additional cybersecurity services.

Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML)

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires all financial institutions to assist government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering activities. All financial institutions are required to have an independent review of their BSA/AML programs. Our advisory professionals have experience serving institutions classified as both high and low risk. 

NACHA Audits of Rules Compliance

The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) requires all originating and receiving institutions to complete an audit of compliance with the NACHA Rules annually by December 31 of each year. The audit of compliance with NACHA Rules must be performed by an individual or third party independent of the in-house ACH functions.  

Remote External Audit
Our remote external audit service allows the same trusted M&J professionals to leverage technology and
on-site visits to complete your financial statement audit efficiently and effectively while adhering to all
required audit standards.


Whatever your bank needs, our firm can provide.

 
VISIT OUR M&J'S FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS PAGE TO SEE EVEN MORE ADVISORY SERVICE OFFERINGS AND TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH ONE...

M&J Stimulus Consulting

To better help our clients navigate the loan forgiveness process, reduce their compliance burden, and avoid risk, we are offering Stimulus Consulting Services.

To learn more about these services and how we can help, please click here.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact your relationship Partner regarding your PPP Loan Forgiveness Application.

 
 
 
Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC  |  200 Galleria Parkway, Suite 1700  |  Atlanta, GA 30339

Assurance, tax, and advisory offered through Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC. 
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