Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Auditor rant

A nice (very young) auditor was in my office a few minutes ago.

"We had this schedule in our workpapers from last year, and I don't see one from this year."


It's not on their PBC* list for last year, nor for this year. I did indeed prepare the one she had from last year (excel has this wonderful feature where you can set up a footnote in itsy bitsy teeny tiny print and my standard template will show my initials, the file path for the document, and the date and time printed), but cannot for the life of me remember why.

Now, having done some digging, I can see it was directly related to a change in reporting last year, and has almost no relevance to the current year activities, not to mention diminishing relevance in future years as the balance on the schedule cycles down to zero.

Auditors: As long as you give them workpapers that look exactly like the ones from the previous year, and as long as the variances between years do not exceed their current variance tolerance, you can hide a awful lot of sloppy accounting practice, stupid errors and outright fraud.

*Prepared by client. We prepare all the schedules they audit, as well as an additional dozen or so 5" three-ring binders full of other information.

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