Can an Auditor Withdraw from an Audit?

by Joseph Kirkpatrick / September 13th, 2019

When you choose an audit firm to start the audit process, you’re choosing a partner. You want an auditor who is highly experienced, can communicate well, and knows how to support your organization on its compliance journey. Once you find an audit firm that meets your expectations, your organization will need to continue building a good relationship with your auditor throughout the audit process. It doesn’t stop at signing a contract, and it’s a two-way street. What actions or behaviors could negatively impact your relationship with your auditor? When does an auditor have the right to withdraw from an audit?

Finding the Right Auditor

What should you be looking for in an auditor? How do you know you’ve picked an audit firm that will support and educate you during the audit process? How you can you make sure you’re not giving an auditor the opportunity to withdraw from an audit? Although audits are difficult, you don’t have to tackle compliance requirements alone. Finding the right auditor for your organization starts with an evaluation of your organization’s timeline expectations, communication goals, and auditing needs. Once you know where you stand, you are able to find an auditor that can support you.

The quality of work you receive when you’re handed a compliance report is directly related to the availability, qualifications, and skill of the Information Security Specialist you work with. At KirkpatrickPrice, our audit team is made up of qualified, experienced auditors. You don’t want to choose a firm that sends a junior-level auditor to check your internal controls, test your physical security, and walk through your processes. You deserve to have a senior-level auditor working alongside you during the audit process. These experienced auditors focus on the goal of independence and support so that there isn’t pressure to withdraw from an audit.

Building a Relationship with your Auditor

Once you choose an audit firm, what is your organization doing to foster a positive partnership with your auditor? Even after an audit process is completed, a healthy relationship with an auditor means continued support and education in your compliance efforts. To make sure you have built a strong relationship with your auditor, you can review our Six Signs that You’re in a Good Relationship with Your Auditing Firm. Following these signs of a good auditor will help point you in the direction of meeting your long-term compliance goals and avoid the possibility of an auditor needing to withdraw from an audit.

The key to maintaining a good relationship with your auditor is recognizing the audit firm’s requirement for independence. Auditors can withdraw from an audit if the rules of independence are broken during the audit process. If an auditor feels as though something has happened to where they cannot be objective, they have the right to withdraw from the audit. To make sure your organization doesn’t cross those boundaries, you can focus on respecting the auditor’s independence throughout the audit process. You can trust that your audit is in good hands when you choose an auditor with the integrity to remain independent.

Fostering a good relationship with your auditor puts you on the right path towards compliance and encourages a support system for your audit process. Start your journey with an independent audit firm that meets your needs and avoid any problems that might require an Information Security Specialist to withdraw from an audit. Contact KirkpatrickPrice, today.

Did you know that an auditor can actually withdraw from your engagement? There are certain rules that we must follow that require us to withdraw if certain circumstances are met. For example, we have to maintain independence at all times. If something happens that comprises that independence, we have to withdraw from your engagement. If a company puts undue pressure on us and they say, “We’re not going to give you that next contract unless you find certain things favorable for us in this audit,” we can’t do that audit. We have to withdraw from the engagement. If a company is combative or argumentative with us through the audit, if it puts that undue stress on the auditor to where they can’t be objective, then we have to withdraw from that engagement. I think understanding the nature of audits and understanding how that relationship works is very important to making your audit a successful engagement.

About the Author

Joseph Kirkpatrick

Joseph Kirkpatrick is the Managing Partner at KirkpatrickPrice and holds the CISSP, CISA, CGEIT, CRISC, and QSA certifications, specializing in data security, IT governance, and regulatory compliance. He enjoys helping our clients and stakeholders by navigating them through the complex maze of compliance and regulatory requirements.