After your affordable housing property’s year-end date, time is money. Affordable housing audits are due between 60–90 days after the end of the fiscal year, depending on the agencies involved. When audit season starts for your property, the sooner it’s over, the sooner the pressure’s off your management team and bookkeepers, allowing you to get back to business as usual.
So when the final request list from your auditor comes in, it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible, no matter when it arrives. Here’s why.
Every Document Matters
Depending on the firm, auditors may use request lists as specially tailored checklists of documents needed to complete the audit. In these cases, every item is required, and no “extra” items waste your staff’s time to gather them.
In addition, the documents on a request list often encompass a long process that can begin at many different points. This means that a few files could allow the auditor to start the audit, completing steps ahead of schedule and getting the ball rolling for your organization.
On the other hand, waiting until each box is checked means the auditors can’t start until you’ve gathered every piece of information, though they may have been able to get significant work done while you pulled the last item on the list.
Companies Have Tight Schedules
Chances are, you’ve never sat around wishing for more work. Even more so, you’ve probably never met an auditor with a lot of free time on their hands.
Especially during busy season (January–April), CPA firms are squeezing in a vast number of client visits in a very small window of time. In order for those visits to go smoothly, auditors must prepare ahead of time. The fuller the request list, the more they can work with before arriving to your office, saving your team time and effort.
Even if your auditors work remotely and rarely visit your office, getting request list items to them early allows them to start your audit before the firm’s dedicated time to work on it. Again, even sending a portion of the request list can be helpful to CPAs, who can then start laying the groundwork before beginning the audit in earnest.
Asking Questions Saves Stress
Your property may work with dozens of financial professionals throughout the year, all of which use slightly different language when describing key documents or concepts. Sometimes, these terms can differ from the ones auditors use in request lists, causing confusion on both ends and frustration on your team, who will have to correct any mistakes and re-send documents.
That’s why it’s important to ask questions, stay in communication with your auditors, and track which requested pieces you have provided to-date. If something looks unfamiliar, it’s better to spend a minute composing an email rather than taking the time to locate an unnecessary file. Don’t check items off the list until the email leaves your inbox, or the file completely uploads to the portal. This way, you won’t lose track of the pieces you have yet to send.
Working Together Benefits Everyone
At the end of the day, all anyone wants is for the audit to be completed by the deadline. By approaching the audit as a team effort, and responding to request lists promptly, the team can reach the finish faster. Donovan CPAs takes a unique and friendly approach to auditing. Learn more about our team or request a proposal today by contacting us; we’re always here to serve!