Peacetime audits: how to get them done without stress
Audits tend to be tangled processes within organizations. But with technology it is not only possible to be more efficient in terms of preparing reports, but also to standardize an activity that, in this way, relieves tension and provides new benefits to the company.
People with frowns. Heads down. Tense silence. Generalized stress is in the air. One coffee leaves the machine after another, but not to liven up a chat, but to keep the mind awake; the working hours of those days are totally altered. And the time has come for the company to be audited and the process requires such a level of attention, meticulousness and perfection, which forces those involved in these tasks to accompany with their tough gestures and tense bodies the high level of concern of these days.
You can work in a company “Great place to work” type of place, or in a family or SME. But when audit comes, the stress levels are so high that all that good and motivating environment seems to disappear in times of evaluation. The thing is that what is done in those days has to be perfectly done, there is no time or space for error because, otherwise, the risks that the company faces are truly big.
If the information that is provided in that audit is not correct, the problem is so great that it is very difficult to get out of it harmless. It is common practice in organizations that these processes are under supervision and responsibility of specific people who, logically, establish their own criteria for organizing the data to prepare this type of reports. A type of work that tends to concentrate knowledge in some points of the organization, which is accepted and naturalized, but which tends to generate enormous dependencies and pressures. Some of the consequences are that this person cannot get sick, or take vacations at specific times of the year, and that if for any reason they leave the company, it is not easy to take charge of that task: time will have to be allocated to understand the processes, train others, establish new criteria, deduce what no one knows. A dependency that implies high costs, both for the person on whom this task falls, as well as for the company and for the area.
Is there any way to standardize the information captured in these processes when an audit is carried out? Is it possible that the famous “death week” can be transformed into a week in which, maybe there are more tasks than in a normal week, but in which one has the peace of mind that comes from knowing that what will be done will be accurate and will not lead to mistakes?
Yes, of course. And technology is, once again, an ally to carry out a stressful task with greater results.
“I was an auditor of a company in which, one day, the person who made the reconciliations for the audits announced that he would change jobs. At the time of starting the audit, we found that he had taken the knowledge with him, and there was no way to carry out the reconciliations and, as it is known, if the organization is not reconciled, it does not know where it stands”, explained Mariano, former administrative officer of a hotel brand. He argued that it is no longer possible to think about reconciliation processes without counting on automation tools: they allow not only to make accurate reports from the standardization of processes, but also to enable new analyzes thanks to the data matching.
That person who, for years, had created macros in Excel to make the reconciliation, and who now is gone, had prepared those worksheets according to his criteria. Would the person who would continue this task replicate this methodology, or on the contrary, will apply a new criterion and allocate hours to design a new way to carry out the task with no common thread between them?
To avoid these situations that only generate discomfort in a process that must be clean and transparent, it is recommended to adopt a reconciliation method that allows the company to standardize processes and, consequently, avoid the type of dependencies that we mentioned above.
By having tools of these characteristics, not only processes are automated, but also, we obtain a clear process and a reporting format that builds trust and validity of the data arising from the audit process.
This kind of standardized process remains over time, and can be performed by different users. In addition, the users do not need to have a technical profile: being user friendly, this kind of software enables the data matching in a simple way, and when something does not fit, alerts are triggered to allow controllers or managers to take the necessary decisions.
Conciliac EDM allows companies to contrast the data taken from different sources, it has functionalities that enable the improvement in the data consolidation and reconciliation processes. As a result, a considerable improvement is obtained in the veracity and certainty of the reports generated.
The biggest advantage of having an automatic data processing and reconciliation tool is that, by having everything standardized, it is up to date. When the end of the month arrives, the process starts according to that predefined scheme. And when the audit arrives in 3, 6 or 12 months, the preparation of the report begins without the stress and without the long faces that are usually seen in those “weeks of death”.