Do you have a substantial number of clients in a particular industry? If so, maybe you can take a page out of Schultheis & Panettieri (S&P), LLP’s playbook. S&P, a 100 man Long Island, N.Y. CPA firm has a niche practice auditing multi-employer employee benefit plans. The firm conducts approximately 170 audits a year and due to the specialized nature of their business, they created their own audit methodology.
For the partners and staff at S&P, developing custom audit content evolved naturally. They adapted content to suit the demands of their engagements, By doing so S&P was able to increase efficiency and capitalize on the experience and insight of their partners and staff by building specific procedures into their audit process.
In addition to gaining efficiency by customizing audit content, a firm like S&P can better manage risk since they will have tighter controls over the procedures being performed. Mayer Hoffman McCann, P.C. (MHM), headquartered in Kansas City, decided to take a more proactive approach by customizing and standardizing the preparation and execution of the firm's audit procedures. Using amelio® to help manage their audit process, MHM reduced the number of planning practice aids used as well as the number of questions on those practice aids. MHM has also streamlined their audit work in low risk areas with this more standardized approach.
Both MHM and S&P have turned to amelio® to assist with the audit management process. amelio® -- which derives its name from "ameliorate” because its purpose is to improve the maintenance of audit methodology -- enables firms to create logic-driven, adaptive forms that will adjust depending on how the auditor answers individual questions.
amelio® helps firms significantly streamline their audit process by allowing the firm to create templates for the audit content and create engagements based on those templates. Those templates consist of questions that will disappear or appear depending on how other questions are answered (such as a client’s entity type, industry, or the type of service being performed). For example, an engagement acceptance form can be short or lengthy, depending on how questions are answered. Before amelio®, S&P’s auditors had to read and answer all 50+ questions on an acceptance form, but now they will no longer have to since irrelevant questions "disappear.”
According to Carol Westfall, Managing Partner at S& P, "Valuable audit time is wasted when 90% of the time we know something isn't relevant, such as Property and Plant. amelio® will allow us to remove unnecessary items.”
Using amelio® auditors can easily tailor the engagement they are working on. These tailored procedures are automatically rolled forward into subsequent engagements for the client. Tailoring is complemented by amelio’s® reporting and template management features, which make it easy for firms to identify where and how engagements were tailored and then update the templates to include these changes if appropriate.
Beyond the efficiency and risk management gains, amelio® has other benefits. Gerald Moench, Managing Director at CBIZ MHM, notes, "amelio® makes us more efficient and therefore more competitive in the marketplace. In addition, we believe it could make us more competitive in recruiting talent. Overall, we hope it elevates how we are perceived, as combining our proprietary methodology with an advanced technological product such as amelio® allows us to elevate our game.”