Signs that You’re in a Good Relationship with Your Auditing Firm

by Sarah Harvey / February 14th, 2019

When choosing an audit firm to partner with, it should be more than just a business transaction: you should be thinking about building a relationship with an organization and how its employees will help your organization in the long run. Like any relationship, there are sure to be challenges along the way, and the auditor-auditee relationship is no exception. Whether it’s your first time partnering with an audit firm or you’ve been working with a firm for years, there’s a few ways to know that you’re in a good relationship with your audit firm. Let’s take a look at six key signs that prove your audit partner is the right firm for you.

Your audit partner wants you to succeed.

The first prominent sign that you’re in a good relationship with your audit partner is that they want you to succeed. As an information security auditing firm, we often have clients who fear the audit process because of the misconception that audits are pass/fail. This is not the case. At KirkpatrickPrice, our mission is to educate, empower, and inspire our clients to greater levels of assurance by partnering with them to achieve their challenging compliance objectives. As your partner, we will do what’s necessary to guide you toward accomplishing your compliance goals, such as providing additional consulting services and free educational resources. If an audit firm simply treats the audit engagement as a business transaction, meaning they reluctantly come onsite or don’t come at all, show little interest in helping your organization succeed, neglect to provide remediation strategies, or fail communicate how vulnerabilities can be mitigated, they aren’t helping your organization succeed.

Your audit partner holds you accountable to your goals.

Whether you’ve been asked by a client to undergo an information security audit or your organization has decided to proactively pursue compliance on your own accord, tackling the audit process can be tedious. That’s why you need a partner to hold you accountable. With our Online Audit Manager, senior-level Information Security Specialists, Audit Support Professionals, and client success team, our clients can rest assured that they have a partner that holds them accountable to their goals. At KirkpatrickPrice, we know that pursuing compliance requires a time, personnel, and financial investment that is not to be taken lightly, and we’re committed to ensuring that our clients accomplish what they set out to achieve by the end of the engagement period. Does your audit firm let you frequently put off answering questions? Do they let you keep pushing back the engagement period? If so, they aren’t holding you accountable to your goals and are missing a critical opportunity to exhibit one of the most important signs that you’re in a good relationship with your audit partner.

Your audit partner goes above and beyond for you.

The audit process is more than just uploading documents, answering auditors’ questions, and going through the onsite visit. It’s about achieving challenging compliance goals to strengthen your security posture. At KirkpatrickPrice, we recognized this and have hired personnel to ensure that not only are our clients receiving quality, thorough services from our senior-level Information Security Specialists, but that they also receive quality, thorough reports that are written by a team of technical writers and are thoroughly reviewed by our Quality Assurance team.

We also know that compliance efforts shouldn’t stop when the engagement ends. Because ensuring that your security posture remains strong is an ongoing effort, any audit firm that stops partnering with you after the audit period is complete is doing you a disservice. Does your audit firm currently update you with information security best practices? Do they provide additional consulting services to assist you in maintaining your information security system once the audit period is complete? An audit firm that goes above and beyond the basic audit process is one of the key signs that you’re in a good relationship with your audit firm.

Your audit partner has strong communication skills.

Good communication is one of the staple signs that you’re in a good relationship with your audit partner. We understand that the audit process is challenging enough and adding poor communication into the mix only makes undergoing audits seem that much more daunting. If you have little to no communication with your audit team during the audit, you’re not in a good relationship. If you are suspicious that any step in your process is being outsourced (penetration testing, report writing, etc.), this should also be a red flag that you’re not in a good relationship with your audit firm. Think about it: how can an auditor conduct a thorough audit if they aren’t speaking with you about your systems? How can they understand your business without analyzing it firsthand?

Your audit partner knows more than you do.

Getting into a relationship with someone who has very little experience can be challenging and extremely frustrating. When you’re undergoing something as complex as an information security audit, you don’t want someone performing the audit who is still learning the ropes. You want a senior-level professional who has decades of experience working in the industry. If your audit firm sends a junior-level auditor to perform an onsite visit, chances are you won’t be building a good relationship. As part of performing your due diligence when vetting audit firms, make sure you’re verifying that only an experienced professional will be carrying out the engagement.

Your audit partner has a good track record.

Before you enter any business relationship, it’s especially important to make sure that the organization has a good track record. Why? Because if you’re making the investment in compliance, you must practice your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality, thorough audit. What would be the impact if your client wasn’t satisfied with the quality of your audit? You would have wasted weeks of your personnel and financial resources, opened your organization up to possible breaches, and/or faced steep fines and penalties for non-compliance. There’s a reason why KirkpatrickPrice has partnered with businesses of all sizes and in all places to deliver our quality, thorough audit services. We’ve streamlined the audit process, hired expert professionals to ensure that quality reports are delivered, and committed ourselves to partnering with our clients to achieve their compliance goals.

If you’re just starting out on your compliance journey or are looking to re-evaluate your current relationship with your audit partner, ask yourself: does your audit firm demonstrate these signs that you’re in a good relationship? It’s never too late to make sure that you’re in a good relationship with your audit partner, so contact us today.

More Assurance Resources

When Will You See the Benefit of an Audit?

Getting Executives on Board with Information Security Needs

Why Quality Audits Will Always Pay Off: You Get What You Pay For

5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Audit Partner