Why “Ask the Client” may be one of the worst things an auditor can hear

At the end of the day, an audit firm’s clients do not like us.  They tolerate us as a necessary evil, but in their defense, not many people would be able to tolerate us.  For those not in the profession, imagine this: a team of professionals questioning how you do your job, pointing out all the errors that you have made and going through all of your documents.  However, we auditors do not like our clients because they get annoyed by us pointing out their errors and demanding documents and explanations.  For those of you who would like to defuse some of the tension with your loyal clientele, I would refer you to a fellow bloggers’ post on how to get along with clients.  Could come in handy!  As for me, I will continue the cold war that has persisted for generations with our clients, only because it gives my day the occasional uptick in genuine humor. 

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23 Responses to Why “Ask the Client” may be one of the worst things an auditor can hear

  1. Krupo says:

    They *love* you, but don’t “like” you. Makes sense. 😉

  2. Christopher Silvey says:

    I saw that this post had one comment and thought to myself…it must be Krupo. Wasn’t much of a stretch. You are a machine Krupo.

  3. Hmmm..coz U’re clients bored with 5w + H …hahah bravo, good article..

  4. rustykern says:

    Every day feels like agony….quoted from your link to another article…

    my thought exactly on my full-time job….my part-time job — much better times to be had there…if only i could reverse the two…(i know, i know, just give it time right?)

  5. RTG says:

    send a box of doughnuts next time your talking with the client
    it used to be my best defense when i was doing it,

    a sugar highed client is the easiets to deal with

    • Tom says:

      Ha! I’m in one of the big 5 banks and when the bank’s internal audit group started their audit of my department this year, they actually brought Timbits. As corny as it sounds, it kinda works. 🙂

    • Also reminds the client that you’re both human, if you see what I mean.

      I think that can be more useful than the sugar high. If anything, you want them placid and sleepy (though not tired — there is a difference!), so bringing less sugary, more savoury snacks can also be useful.

      Health food can be a good talking point to break the ice as well…less good for actually eating though. 😛

  6. Sean Goss says:

    Why cant clients PAY us what we deserve….And , and we the last to get paid. I dont care if they love us, tolerate us or hate us!!

  7. Depressed says:

    The entire accounting staff hates me because I’m trying to do my job.
    I ask for a simple thing such as the sales GL for Jan 09, and the controller laughs in my face for asking for such a “ridiculous” thing
    I really have no idea how the audit was completed in prior years.

    The controller had to “give talks” to two of the junior accounting staff for their attitude towards me.
    All because I asked for invoices and shipping documents to test. I need to support my testing with SOME sort of evidence.

    These are standard audit procedures – I really don’t understand why it’s like pulling teeth to get what I need.

  8. Krupo says:

    Oh man, hell clients. Don’t take too much b.s. – if you’re junior, report it upwards and document the amount of your time they’re wasting. In detail.

    It can only help save you.

  9. very nice article. some clients are easier to deal with than others!

  10. Ryann says:

    We protect the public but this is a client service business. If you are a good auditor you encompass the following:

    (a) you have the ability to find common ground with multiple types of peronalities

    (b) you understand how not to act like you are smarter than they are (because most times you aren’t, you just don’t have the ability to not think like an auditor)

    (c) you are able to make the client understand why you are asking for certain information (to the extent your fraud risk assement, the competence of your professional judgement, and the purpose of your procedure allow)

    (d) your ability to gain the respect of your clients by demonstrating that you understand their business, their business, their customer, their customers business, the economy and how the current economic, political and social envirnments impact all of the above

    if you can’t do that your title should include staff (ready for the Easter parade), clerk or assistant

    your difficulties with clients are reflections on your ability to add value

    • Steve G. says:

      Very true. I usually joke with the clients, about how much of a necessary evil we are, like “Hello, happy to see us?”.
      But if you do make yourself clear about the reasons you need this or that (without getting into details), the client’s staff is much more likely to help you out with a smile.
      I usually enjoy the interactions with the clients, even though I also had my share of people making me feel they don’t want me there.
      It’s all in the P.R., people!

  11. I have enjoyed your writing,Very well written.Thanks and hope to read more from you.

  12. Serge says:

    Thanks for truly rigng point.

  13. HOLYCOW says:

    Accounting is the biggest liability for the company, even bigger than the asset.

    They got paid to only give an “Opinion” in return.
    They got paid to uncover weaknesses and mistakes.
    They got paid to interrogate people.
    They got paid to risk people their job.

    Remember, the govt requires companies to have themselves audited by Public Accountants, to do IPOs, corporate actions, etc. This is more a mandatory than voluntarily.

    Also, accountants, finance, and internal auditors are hated even inside of their own company. How come external “strangers” do not?

    Keep this in mind when you’re dealing with clients.
    Perhaps we will understand them more, even only by a little bit.

  14. Very good post. Love the blog!

  15. Very funny blog and great comments. Keep the content coming it brightens my day!

  16. You always make me laugh and I nejoy readings your comments.

  17. Love this blog. Why has it not been updated for a while? Such a shame for such a quality blog

  18. This is such a great blog, why oh why hasn’t it been updated in such a long time?????

  19. Debbie says:

    It’s all about superior service! For some really great articles on accounting service/client satisfaction see this blog:
    http://whatdoclientsreallywant.com/
    Lots of great ones about professional service and client retention, etc. ENJOY!

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