Communicating Audit Value

Dec 31st 2008
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By Alex Vuchnich, CPA, CFE -

With a new year-end turning the corner, audit firms will once again be put in the position of justifying the fees associated with their audit services. To communicate value to clients, CPAs must demonstrate a dollar return to clients, whether it be in the form of increased cash flow or profitability. Translating compliance work into value can be challenging but basic financial management concepts apply here as in any other financial decision-making process. After all, your client could have avoided the need for an audit by seeking other sources of capital that did not have any such requirement but that likely carried a higher cost of capital. One suggestion for trying to translate the value of your services is to prepare a supplemental schedule to your audit adjustment list that documents the impact on cash flow and/or profitability resulting from your audit findings. Even adjustments that decrease profitability or cash flow have a benefit in that they uncover hidden costs that your clients management may not have considered or that may be opportunities for cost-cutting. So next time you find a mis-posting to cash make sure to communicate it to your client and by all means, take credit for finding it.

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