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Preparing For Your First AICPA Audit

Certain words or names have a way of invoking immediate fear upon hearing them. Broccoli. Calculus. Hasselhoff. Warranted or not, audit falls into this same category, packing quite a punch with just two short syllables. If left unchecked, it can bring night sweats to accountants and a nervous tick to even the most stoic of CFOs.


Thankfully, your friends here at Embark are here to demystify the dreaded audit, even take a good bit of that dread out of it. If you’re starting your first AICPA audit in the face and feel your pulse racing, we have a few simple tips to help prepare you for what awaits. Keep an even keel and open mind because some first AICPA audit wisdom is heading your way.


Start Preparing Yesterday

You’ll get no blue ribbon for procrastination, that is unless your definition of a blue ribbon includes chaos, confusion, and anxiety. Start your organization and preparation for the audit as soon as possible to eliminate the unwelcome stress of a tight schedule. A healthier, more deliberate pace will help you better understand the areas they will look at relative to when they will be looking at them.

READ NEXT: Audit Debrief: How to Improve For Next Year's Audit


Uncharted Territory

Your first AICPA audit is likely to push you into unfamiliar territory that may seem a bit foreign at first, even unnerving until you get the knack of it. You’ll probably have to prepare schedules you’ve never worked with as well as a variety of other items that are out of your routine. However, don’t look at that unfamiliarity as something unique or an outrageous hurdle to clear as, like it or not, it’s par for the audit course.


Have Thick Skin

As an extension of the previous point, remember that an AICPA audit is a new experience for you and, thus, there could very well be points of contention, confusion, or even flat-out discrepancies that come forth. Don’t take it personally, have thick skin and, as your parents might have said when you were growing up, take it as something to learn from. Swallow your pride, own up to bumps in the road, and make your future audits that much smoother because of it.

Yes, those tips were a bit on the touchy-feely side, but that’s by design. A balanced frame of mind is an essential component of a beneficial audit experience, particularly when it’s your first AICPA rodeo. In other words, maintaining the right attitude is critical to learning and improving in the future. Otherwise, your second, third, and twentieth audits will be just as nerve-wracking as the first.

For some guidance, you can sink your teeth into a bit more, remember to record all actual proposed adjusting entries and errors. Also, make certain both you and your team have sufficient time to get everything done, again highlighting the importance of adequate scheduling and preparation.

READ NEXT: Making the Auditor's Jobs Easier and Limiting Audit Fees


Similarly, understand what the deadlines are, who needs your reports, and when they need them by. There are quite a few moving parts to an AICPA audit which, collectively, can seem a bit overwhelming if you go into the process with blinders on. Whether your first audit is smooth as silk or bumpy as an unpaved road, however, you’ll get through it and the sun will rise another day. And of course, you can always count on Embark for continuing insights along the way.