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Does anyone have a timeline for switching external auditors?

Assume you have a calendar year end, when do you inform your current auditors you are putting the account out to bid, wait until the year end audit is complete? Do you wait until the year end audit is complete before contacting other firms requesting an RFP or can you start sooner? Anybody who has done this and can share their insights it would be appreciated.

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Why would I tell my existing Auditors I'm putting the account out for bid.

I'm assuming every year we play the dance about fees. Obviously if I'm looking around, I'm not happy with the fees or the audit or results.

I would start looking as soon as the last audit is complete. You may only have 6-9 months lead time and waiting too long can result in either a) no audit or b) using your current auditor in less than ideal circumstances.

Anonymous
(CFO/Board Advisor) |

Your question doesn't say Why you are putting the audit out for bid. Is it merely over fees? Are you switching from a local or regional firm to a National or Big 4 firm? Is it an audit Partner or staff issue? Also, are you the decision maker on this, or do you need Board approval. Are your auditors also your tax advisors?

Another set of questions concern inventory. Beginning inventory observation, or other testing, by the new firm? You need to think through and consider this very carefully. Also, review of prior year workpapers by the new firm is something to consider.

When I have made a decision to put an audit out for an RFP, I have always allowed my existing auditor to participate in the process. In situations where the change was from a smaller firm to a Big 4 or national firm, I used my existing auditors to assist me in the RFP process or make recommendations and suggestions.

You auditors are big boys and professionals, this happened to them before. I wouldn't be afraid to discussion this with them. They may be a real benefit to the process.

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