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Can an audit be carried out remotely in a thorough manner?

Friday 17/04/2020
Audit op afstand

It is the responsibility of the auditor to identify the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements.

The auditor does this by gaining insight into the entity and its environment, including the internal control of the organisation. The Corona crisis clearly has an impact on the entity and its environment. The auditor will therefore have to take into account the changed risk profile of the client and adapt his audit approach accordingly. 

For the audits relating to the financial year 2019, the auditor will have to consider whether the risk estimates relating to, among other things, the continuity of the company and the valuation of assets and liabilities such as trade receivables and inventories need to be revised. For audits relating to the financial year 2020, it will also be necessary to assess the impact on the company's administrative organisation as well as the long-term consequences of the changed economic situation. 

As auditor, we come into daily contact with companies that have to deal with these issues. Through our professional organisation and experts from our own organisation, we are constantly kept informed of the various obstacles and possible solutions. We actively use this important expertise to assess the specific challenges faced by our audit clients and discuss them with the managers. By using this experience and expertise during our audits, we can offer more added value to our clients as a true sparring partner.  

However, a remote audit also brings some practical challenges. Dependence on the proper functioning of the technology is one of them. Over the past few years, we at Moore Audit have actively focused on digitization and new technologies. For several years now, we have been working in a secure manner with a complete digital audit file. This allows us to work together with all our audit colleagues in files and to exchange information. The entire audit process, from planning to reporting, is thus handled in a uniform manner for all our files in a qualitative manner. We have been working in this way for several years. In practical terms, therefore, the only adjustment this crisis requires of us is the way we communicate with our clients and colleagues. Fortunately, we now have digital solutions such as Teams and Skype.  

Of course, all audit checks do not lend themselves equally well to being carried out remotely. This possibility should be assessed by the auditor in function of, among other things, the characteristics of the company and the available infrastructure. After all, it is not always possible to audit all sections of the annual accounts remotely. Much will depend on the typology of the company. One cannot audit a company with a production process in the same way as a service company. The experience, the knowledge of the company and the professional opinion of the auditor are of paramount importance for this. At Moore Audit, we have been consciously investing for years in an experienced and stable audit team, which can also take care of the audit from a distance in a qualitative manner.

If you have other questions regarding the Corona crisis, please visit our special FAQ

Last update: 30/04/2020

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Johan Van Mieghem
Johan Van Mieghem
Managing Partner Audit
Koen van Eupen
Koen Van Eupen
Partner - Audit