Supporting the United States Air Force through its First Full Financial Audit
Entities like the Air Force, with complex business processes and/or control environments, and those undergoing their first financial statement audit, face several challenges accommodating Independent Public Accountant (IPA) audit requirements. Organizations that do not have the proper internal foundation to support IPA requirements may often struggle. One of the major challenges facing many complex organizations is the ability to respond to IPA requests in a timely and accurate manner, especially when their organization's business processes and controls are decentralized.
Guidehouse believes establishing a sustainable audit infrastructure is critical for financial statement audit success for large, complex organizations. To effectively plan for a sustainable audit infrastructure, key stakeholders must collaborate from the early stages of the audit. In support of the United States Air Force’s first full financial statement audit, the Guidehouse team coordinated with key client points of contact to:
Identify, define, and agree on major milestones and timelines for sustainable audit infrastructure development
Establish IPA request and response workflows for each major audit area with appropriate levels of points of contact and locations
Develop and implement an Audit Response (AR) Tool via SharePoint for Enterprise-wide Air Force use
Develop and deploy training for Air Force stakeholders on the use of the AR Tool and stakeholder-specific audit response roles, responsibilities, and associated protocols.
Guidehouse also implemented workflow support services, which were used to communicate with and train client personnel on audit expectations, facilitate responses to IPA requests, assist in discussions with the IPA, and monitor the execution of IPA requests and timelines (e.g., initial receipt of request, issuance to stakeholders, quality review, and submission to IPA). Our critical support allowed the client to manage the IPA properly.
Through the development, implementation and organization-wide deployment of a client-approved Microsoft SharePoint based system - the AR Tool with several sites – the Air Force was able to distribute and respond to auditors’ provided by client (PBC) requests and associated sample requests with a proper audit trail. The AR Tool was also used to house and report audit-related metrics to various AF stakeholders (e.g., requests delivered, requests in progress, requests past due, etc.), avoiding duplicate and redundant requests. These efforts eventually lead to the Air Force completing its first full financial statement audit.