Why It Is Better to Outsource Audit Support in Order to Save Money and Boost Efficiency

By: Prime Offshore AccountingFebruary 20, 2024

Throughout my tenure in executive roles, managing finance and operations for prominent entities like Prime Offshore Accounting, I’ve consistently grappled with a recurring dilemma: optimizing the audit process for greater efficiency and reduced costs. My journey and keen observations of industry movements have led me to a definitive conclusion. The choice to outsource audit support goes beyond mere preference; it emerges as a critical strategic decision. Allow me to explain the reasoning behind this shift.

 The Money Problems of Doing Audit Work Yourself

Maintaining audit functions internally presents several financial hurdles. At the forefront are the direct expenses, such as the salaries and benefits for audit personnel. Moreover, ensuring that your team remains proficient with the latest auditing standards necessitates investment in ongoing training programs.

The hidden costs associated with auditing technology also cannot be overlooked. The requirement for specialized auditing software entails significant initial outlay, along with ongoing expenses for maintenance and regular software updates.

However, the financial implications extend beyond these direct costs. Housing an in-house audit department means dedicating physical space, covering utility bills, and absorbing additional operational expenses. These costs accumulate rapidly, diverting a considerable portion of the budget towards a non-central function that is only fully operational during certain times of the year.

Consider the following scenario: A mid-level audit manager at a reputable firm has an annual salary ranging from $80,000 to $100,000. Add in the cost of benefits and other overheads, and you’re looking at a six-figure sum. Now, this does not even include the ancillary staff like junior auditors, data analysts, and administrators who are also a part of the team. In the end, you’re maintaining a fully-staffed department that might only be fully operational for a few months each year. Is that efficiency? I argue it’s not.

 The Unseen Drain on Productivity

As the audit period approaches, the pressure mounts across the whole organization. Essential staff members are diverted from their main duties to engage in gathering data, verifying information, and preparing necessary documentation. This demanding process affects not only the finance team but also creates ripples throughout all areas of the company.

Don’t underestimate the cost of distraction. Your employees’ productivity drops as they switch tasks, and the time it takes to refocus can be just as detrimental. According to research by the University of California, Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain focus after a distraction. If we calculate this productivity loss for an entire team, the numbers can be startling.

Why Outsourcing Makes Strategic Sense

By outsourcing your audit support functions, you can channel your financial and human resources more effectively. Specialized audit support firms offer an array of auditing outsourced services, ranging from compliance checks to in-depth financial analysis outsourcing. They bring a level of expertise and efficiency that is hard to match with an in-house team, especially one that isn’t engaged in auditing year-round.

A recent report by Deloitte showed that companies who outsourced their audit functions saw an average cost saving of 25%. These aren’t just abstract numbers; they translate to real gains in your profit and loss statement.

Outsourcing Gives You Access to Experts

A significant advantage of outsourcing lies in the expertise you access. External auditors specialize in their field, possessing a thorough understanding of the relevant laws and employing cutting-edge technology in their work. With audits being their daily focus throughout the year, they can execute these tasks more efficiently and effectively than an in-house team that undertakes this work annually.

Think about it. Would you trust a general doctor for a heart problem or go to a heart specialist? In the same way, having a specialized team for audit support can give you better results.

 Flexibility and Scalability: A Key Advantage

From my viewpoint, the capacity for seamless adjustment of your audit workforce is a greatly overlooked perk of outsourcing. In peak audit times, it’s straightforward to bolster your team to handle the surge in demand. Conversely, during quieter periods, downsizing is just as simple.

This level of flexibility is priceless for companies whose auditing needs fluctuate. The ease of scaling differs starkly from the challenges of coordinating an internal team, where swiftly ramping up staff numbers for busy seasons, followed by reducing them afterward, can be fraught with difficulty.

I personally see the ability to tailor the size of your external audit team not just as convenient but also cost-effective. It enables precise cost control by ensuring you pay only for the services required at any given time, avoiding the financial strain of sustaining a full-time team that may not always be fully engaged.

 Keeping Up with Tech is Easier When You Outsource

Navigating the complexities of current audit technology is among the more challenging aspects of handling audit tasks internally. It’s not merely a matter of acquiring the latest software; there’s also the crucial need to ensure your staff is proficient in its use. This requirement typically means investing in ongoing training, which can be both costly and demanding on time.

By choosing to outsource, these concerns evaporate. The external firm you collaborate with is already equipped with the most up-to-date auditing tools. In my view, this represents an often-undervalued advantage. The outsourcing provider manages all necessary software updates and guarantees their team’s expertise in utilizing these tools effectively.

In my opinion, this setup liberates you from the onus of staying at the technological forefront, presenting a mutually beneficial scenario. You gain access to advanced tools without the obligation of their continuous management, freeing you to concentrate on the more strategic facets of your business.

Better Quality and Fewer Mistakes When Outsourcing

In my view, quality and adherence to regulations are fundamental, not merely trendy terms, within the auditing realm. Even minor mistakes or oversights can result in significant repercussions, such as substantial penalties and legal issues.

Outsourcing the audit function significantly reduces the risk of these errors. Firms that provide outsourcing services are experts in this field, with their credibility on the line. Therefore, they enforce rigorous quality assurance protocols.

According to me, this is one of the main reasons why outsourcing can be a more reliable option. These firms have checks and balances that are designed to catch errors before they become major issues. It’s like having a built-in safety net.

I think this level of expertise and focus on quality assurance is hard to achieve with an in-house team, especially if auditing isn’t your company’s primary function.

According to a report from KPMG, companies that outsourced audit functions had fewer compliance issues compared to those that did not.

So, Is Outsourcing Right for You?

Outsourcing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to look at your own needs and costs. But for many companies, the benefits are clear. You save money, get better quality work, and let your team focus on what they do best.

By choosing to outsource, you’re not just cutting costs; you’re making a strategic decision that can give you a competitive edge. With the saved time and resources, you can focus on growing your business, exploring new markets, or even launching new products.

Final Words:

Drawing from years of experience in executive positions, I can confidently assert that outsourcing audit support is a wise choice for several reasons. The cost savings are significant, but the benefits extend far beyond financial aspects alone. It’s about adopting a more intelligent approach to business operations.

Therefore, when the audit season looms on the horizon, rather than succumbing to stress, think about outsourcing your audit tasks. It could very well turn out to be one of your top business moves this year.