Overcoming Site Visit Limitation for Auditing During A Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for many industries. Auditors are also facing many problems in site visits due to the authorities and various organizations’ strict social distancing guidelines and safety measures. It is noteworthy that audit firms in Malaysia are not as crippled by the coronavirus crisis as many businesses, such as hotels and the entertainment industry. Accounting services are provided in Malaysia through various physical proximities to fulfil the auditing task of large organizations.

In such unprecedented times, auditors are adopting new tools and techniques to minimize the impact of the coronavirus on Malaysia’s accounting services. Modern approaches like state-of-the-art technology and remote auditing are being used by auditors. Remote auditing was used by many audit firms in Malaysia before the pandemic as well. Due to COVID-19 and its related travel restrictions, strict safety measures and the need to conduct an audit and legal regulations, the importance of remote auditing is becoming more prominent to overcome the limitations of site visits.

Many organizations have also specifically asked their audit and accounting firms to turn to remote services for better services in these challenging times. The days are long gone when auditors had to maintain a vast book of records and update it manually. Nowadays, certified public accountants (CPAs) can perform more efficient accounting and auditing via rapidly growing modern technology and tools. Technology has sped up the auditing process and made it more efficient.

Certain standards should be followed by auditors, while remote auditing ensures it produces efficient and accurate results. A major difference between remote auditing and site auditing is that site auditing produces direct evidence while remote auditing gives derived documents and data. With proper resources like an excellent telecommunication system and data collection measures, remote auditing can be as reliable as traditional on-site visits.

work from home

Some of the other characteristics of remote auditing are:

1. Walkthroughs

The purpose of walkthroughs is to get evidence of transactions, or usually a group of dealings in a large organization. All of the data regarding the negotiation process, authorization, processing of contracts and final transaction reports are collected. It involves inquiring, observing and examining the contracts and deals of a company. Such procedures can be easily performed via videoconferencing.

2. Inspection of Facilities

Inspection and examination of facilities can be performed through video or photographs in remote auditing. In fact, it will be much faster than the on-site auditing because it produces media evidence of the auditing which the audit firms can keep in their records. A real-time video call can be made to one of the people on the facility, and a thorough inspection can be done.

3. Fixed Asset Testing

Fixed asset testing is a significant part of auditing. It involves testing the management’s declarations associated with existence and completeness. Existence testing can be remotely conducted via video or photographic means to prove the reliability of on-site presence and ensure the accuracy of adopted measures at the site. Analyzing and reporting outputs, verifying audit procedures and confirming the asset’s existence can also be performed remotely via unique identifiers.

Completeness testing can be done through a video tour of warehouses or organization premises. Auditors can perform live test counts or choose a particular section for the analysis of evidence. It is also critical that auditors ensure the highest audit standards are being implemented while remote testing and remove any kind of audit risk it might have during completeness or evidence testing.

4. Resources

Another noteworthy feature of remote auditing is that the organization must provide all the available information, resources, representations and required authority and access to auditors to conduct a comprehensive audit and maximize its chances of being successful and accurate.

To fully overcome the limitations of a site visit during this pandemic, audit firms in Malaysia should adopt the common aspects of any type of auditing. These are:

  • This is essential for a successful auditing process. Every phase of the auditing should be separately planned to ensure maximum results.
  • Document review. This is important to ensure an organization complies with all the required legal requirements and regulations. Reviewing in remote auditing may take longer than on-site auditing because documents will have to be uploaded online.
  • Site inspection. This should be done via video stream.
  • Interviews with management. These can easily be conducted online.

 

In a Nutshell

Ultimately, organizations should keep in mind that remote auditing can sometimes be difficult to perform due to limited resources, compared to a site visit. However, many audit firms in Malaysia are implementing new strategies and tools for the best accounting and audit services. With these firms’ cooperation and efficient utilization of the available resources, the site visit drawbacks can be overcome through proper remote auditing. For more information, feel free to get in touch with us.

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