Mr. Swigart is an accountant and auditor. He is passionate about technology and sharing his experience. He lives in Tampa, United States.
Why do people outside of the finance department need to understand audits?
Audits sometimes take months to complete, depending on the complexity of the company. The work that goes into them helps gain the confidence of those relying on the information, and it can benefit you, too. Although audit terms like 'internal control frameworks' and 'professional skepticism' at first come across as words left best for select departments, the impact of implementing key audit processes like those can be an advantage for your existing processes once they’re properly explored.
Have you ever worked with a company that needed to utilize a disaster recovery plan?
From June to the end of November, living in Florida I need to be prepared for the potential impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes. Fortunately, I and the companies I have worked with have not needed to implement our continuity plans because of that, but as several businesses know, the downtime tolerance of most processes is very sensitive. It is always a good idea to ensure your continuity plan is up to date both professionally and personally, or for you to reach out for support in building a plan.
What type of issues or areas of improvement do you usually come across when reviewing documentation?
When reviewing technical guidance and regulatory reports, the main approach is to ensure compliance with the applicable standards. This type of work isn't easy on the eyes, so overall I have noted the importance of encouraging a thorough self-review and preparing a checklist the team agrees on helps the most. During reviews the checklist can be used as a roadmap to circle back with any comments or updates you have to communicate.
What type of documentation training do you typically recommend for companies?
It is a case-by-case basis depending on the company and their objectives, but I typically recommend ensuring there is already a robust in-house learning environment and that the company supports continuing learning objectives, especially for standard agreed-upon documentation techniques. For one team that I was on, there was no formal training plan to follow, so we allocated time and created a plan that helped to benefit the team and our customers.