Are physical audits becoming a thing of the past and e-audits becoming the norm? Due to COVID travel restrictions, auditors have been conducting inventory observations remotely with the help of technology. This is gaining popularity as a safe and flexible alternative that can produce the same results as the conventional method. E-auditing follows auditing standards throughout the engagement process, while keeping both parties safe. To prepare for a potential remote audit visit, it is important to stay informed on necessary applications to make it successful. Some assistance is required from the company to streamline the process and prevent issues on the day of the visit.
The most common method, live streaming, allows for two-way communication and video. Clients can film themselves as they perform the walk-through, allowing the audit team to watch it live. Audio capability from the live feed allows for questions asked as needed and to host open conversations.
Another technology option is video recordings and photographs. The recordings performed by the client can simulate an auditor first hand, or can be performed by an independent third-party. High-definition security cameras can also serve as an effective tool to stream inventory to auditors.
With video recordings and lack of authenticity, there is a possibility that the recording is not a current representation of the inventory. Material information could be omitted or manipulated from this, creating a scope limitation. Also, it is possible that the technology does not produce a clear enough image for the auditor to base their opinion.
Tips for Remote Auditing
Clients should begin to prepare for potential remote audit visits as they become a more viable option. Communication between the client and auditor is key to receive the most effective and reliable results.
Prevent technology fails by testing the procedures beforehand. To start, download a live streaming app onto the intended portable device and test for a strong connection, without lagging and delays. Testing the clarity of the camera when live streaming ensures the auditors can collect sufficient evidence.
Companies can also practice recording and streaming themselves counting the inventory, or find a third-party to do so. If security cameras are the selected method, find out if it has the necessary features to allow auditors to use them for the inspection.
As the world changes in response to COVID, the auditing industry is following along, and it is important to be ready for the inevitable shift. Virtual audits are quickly becoming reality. If you have any questions about the audit process, please call us at 401-921-2000, or reach us through email or complete our online contact form.