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Procrastinators beware, the nonprofit audit is not the place to drag your feet 

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Can you prepare for your upcoming audit and still enjoy a relaxing lunch with colleagues? Yes, yes you can. If you want to learn how, join us and take the audit prep challenge. Just follow these four steps leading up to your next audit and see for yourself how it makes a difference. We’re sure you’ll feel better prepared and more balanced. Sound good? Let’s get started:

  1. Don’t procrastinate. Start preparing for your audit well before your year-end rolls around. Set up meetings with key internal stakeholders and external auditors well in advance and commit to updating schedules and reconciliations throughout the year. In many not-for-profit organizations, a lot of the audit prep work falls on one staff member. If that’s you, working ahead will make crunch time less hectic.
  2. Stay ahead of the curve. Keep up with accounting standards updates. Though not all updates will have the pervasive effects of ASU 2014-09 (revenue recognition) or ASU 2016-14 (not-for-profit financial statement presentation), you’ll still want to check them out. Read each standard and consider how it could impact your financial reporting. Discuss new standards with your external auditor to learn about potential effects on your upcoming audit. You may have to rethink your chart of accounts, gather new data, or draft new disclosures to comply with new standards. The sooner you identify these to-dos, the better.
  3. Get organized. What workpapers has your auditor requested? Who needs to complete them? When does your auditor need them? Most auditors will send you a workpaper list well in advance. If yours doesn’t—ask. Figure out the logistics sooner rather than later and tackle the complex and time-consuming ones first to give yourself a cushion. The AICPA Not-for-Profit Section provides account workpaper templates to help not-for-profits meet specific reporting requirements.
  4. Reflect on past audits. Get in the habit of taking detailed notes after each audit. Then, bring all the key players together and discuss what went well and what could be improved the next time around.

If you take these steps, you’re sure to be better prepared and less stressed going into your next audit. For a list of additional tips to a successful audit, check out this article from the AICPA Not-for-Profit Section and visit www.aicpa.org/nfp to see all that the AICPA Not-for-Profit Section has to offer. Join the Not-for-Profit Section today!

Lana Richards, Manager- Not-for-Profit Content Development, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants



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