Sending out paper audit confirmations is tedious and takes on average 10 to 15 minutes per account to process. For example, one of Zinman & Company's clients has 23 bank accounts at two different banks; confirming all the client's accounts can take about five hours. As a progressive firm, they've made it a top priority to find tools that improve efficiency and reduce cost for a firm.
Zinman & Company now uses Confirmation to confirm cash, loan, and line-of-credit accounts, and to obtain cutoff statements. Using Confirmation, the firm saves valuable time that's normally spent on audit confirmation requests.
Confirmation saves time, allows the audit team to prepare confirmations during the planning stage of the audit, and reduces cost for the firm and the client.
Like most audit firms, Zinman & Company devoted a lot of time and manual effort to preparing and processing audit confirmations. Their auditors and/or support staff would prepare the traditional bank confirmations, set up the confirmation log, send the confirmation requests to the client for signature, review the returned confirmations from the client, make copies, prepare envelopes and return envelopes, mail them out, and if needed, send out second confirmation requests.
On average, it took their audit staff 10 to 15 minutes to confirm each bank account. "The bank confirmation process for an audit is pretty tedious," says Michael Saltzman, a CPA with the firm for nine years. "And if there's not a response after 10 days, you may need to send out another request and go through the whole tedious process again."
When Saltzman began using Confirmation in 2009, he quickly saw that it saved time and increased efficiency on his audits. Saltzman likes using the Future Dated™ feature to set up confirmations during the planning stage of the audit, as opposed to preparing and sending confirmations out at year-end.
"You can actually have your bank confirmations completed weeks before the actual year-end. It's very convenient and eliminates a lot of stress by taking care of steps well in advance of the major substantive procedures of audit," explains Saltzman.
With Confirmation, Saltzman can tailor the confirmation request to include the bank's interest rate, collateral on a note, expiration dates, specific terms, and any other background information he needs to confirm. Saltzman continues, "I like that I can ask additional questions, and if I need to call the person who handled the confirmation request, their contact information is right there."
The first year using Confirmation, Saltzman noticed greater efficiency and time savings because it eliminated manual processes, tracking down lost confirmations, and sending out second requests. But in the second year, Michael really noticed the time savings. Once the information is entered into the system, it's saved and can be used for subsequent years. "You don't have to go through the process of re-entering the same information. You just update what needs to be updated, send a client authorization request and you're good to go," says Saltzman. In the second year, it took only one hour to confirm his client's 23 bank accounts instead of taking five hours the old way. By using Confirmation, Saltzman saved four hours on this client's audit engagement.
Zinman & Company charges the cost of the confirmations to their clients. Even though three of Saltzman's clients are not-for-profit organizations, those companies see a savings as well. According to Saltzman, "We explain to our clients how Confirmation saves them money on the audit by reducing my billable hours and our administrative assistant's hours. It's now only a fraction of the cost of my billable hours to perform the audit confirmations. In short, my clients come out ahead. It saves them money in the long run, and they are very happy with that."
For Zinman & Company, Confirmation saves them time and frees up billable hours. Saltzman can devote more time to audit different areas, spend time on other clients, or keep his work-life balance in check because he's saving time, and it's a great opportunity to keep client fees reasonable. Saltzman concludes, "The partner who is in charge of our larger client thinks Confirmation is great. He noticed the time spent in the cash area of the audit was sliced and said, 'That's a good thing.'"
With two offices serving the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area and one office in southern New Jersey, Zinman & Company provides accounting, financial management, and business consulting services. This 25-year-old firm prides itself on being a progressive, modern, and strategic partner for its clients.
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