While auditors need to ensure that they comply with independence requirements and regulations when offering additional services to their clients, post-recession environments present unique opportunities.
Audit clients should prepare to take the bull by the horns.
Most organizations are ready to move out of the “red” into a higher gear. This is the time to take advantage of your auditors’ analytical skills and unique insights into business operations and systems.
You should have established a general sense of where and who your company is today in the marketplace post-recession turbulence. Once you recognize your company’s situation, you can consider becoming more bullish, rather than just maintaining a defense.
Now is the time for you to ensure that your business doesn’t miss opportunities that the recession has made available.
It’s time to begin networking, reviewing merger and acquisition opportunities and propositioning new customers more aggressively. Taking advantage of globalization and international alliance opportunities, as well as national economic and business developments, could enable your company to strengthen and grow.
Organizations may be recovering from bankruptcy or bailout from the government. Individuals also may be suffering from the effects of financial crises, including the housing market decline. Having an awareness and sensitivity toward these stakeholders, while also offering resources, is appropriate.
Using your company’s auditors to ensure that you’re taking full advantage of the any economic stimulus legislation, as well as other government and industry programs, is vital. Derive the maximum benefit from tax, depreciation, capital gains and other stimulus credits and provisions during the economic recovery stages. This will heighten your organization’s chances of post-recession growth and success, as well maintain stability.
Attitude and Preparation
Exuding confidence and a positive approach toward internal and external stakeholders should reassure them that your business has survived the storm with resilience. And your customers will be more likely to see your company as ready and positioned for success.
If you used the downtime made available during recession workdays to rejuvenate your batteries and team build, you should be ready to branch into new territory. Now is the time to market and promote with optimism within existing and new markets.
Whatever the nature of your customers’ businesses, make sure that your accounts and balances are current, understood by all stakeholders involved and undisputed. Allowing balances to sit on your books for more than three months should be a thing of the past.
Efficiency, liquidity, and strong and clear open communication should be established and sustained with all parties.
Take this time to “spring clean,” even if it means dealing with and clearing up unresolved and unpleasant disputes.
Preparation of long-term forecasts and budgets enables you to identify growth as well as eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies as soon as they emerge. This is critical to every organization, whatever its specialty.
Take steps that enable you to focus on areas that have potential for sustained profit and development.
Budgets and forecasts should be prepared and updated at quarterly intervals, comparisons of budgeted to actual results analyzed and new strategies developed quickly, if necessary. Keeping systems updated and forward-looking should enable you to incorporate growth, identify weaknesses and opportunities, and avoid taking unwanted backward steps.
Have staff, networks, education and resources at hand to identify new cost-cutting opportunities, latest advancements and industry or government programs. Use your audit firm to help you examine profitability by department, staff member, project, customer, product line, etc. Also, ensure that inventory held and being produced is current, profitable and salable.
Use insights gained from your auditor when analyzing operations, controls and systems, and then make recommendations. Ensuring that you eliminate or reduce the risk of fraud and illegal acts will increase safety and stability within your organization.
Having worked through layoffs, low morale and financial stress, your employees are probably more than ready to make a move when things pick up – at least, the employees you want to keep!
To prevent unwanted resignations, you should make sure that benefit plans, long-term goals and promotions are fully in place and understood. Updating and distributing current and fair human resource policies, as well as keeping staff well informed, should ensure an environment of open communication and trust – one that encourages the readiness and acceptance of new hires.