Frequently asked questions about Smith, Sullivan and Brown, P.C.
and how we do things.
You have questions and we have answers. The more information, the less you’ll worry come tax or audit time.
Please contact us with your questions. That’s why we’re here.
What type of services do I need?
That’s why we’re here. Tell us a bit about yourself, business or nonprofit and we’ll tell you what you need and guide you through the process.
How do I select an audit firm?
Please provide copy for this section. (Please see page 15 of PDF web guide from your office.)
What should I expect when selecting a new audit firm?
Typically, when Smith, Sullivan, and Brown PC receives a “Request for Proposal”, one of our partners will contact your organization to discuss the specific types of services needed. Once there is a better understanding, our team will prepare and present a proposal to your board of directors (in-person or via ZOOM) to pitch our services and discuss fees. Once the board of directors has deliberated and selected Smith, Sullivan, and Brown, P.C as their audit firm, management and/or the board of directors will receive an Engagement Letter based on the level of services and fees agreed upon. Once the letter is executed, we will begin our services.
What should I expect after engaging a new audit firm? How easy is it to change firms?
Once an Engagement Letter has been executed by your organization, Smith, Sullivan, and Brown PC will prepare an authorization letter to your prior audit firm, which your organization will sign, in order for the prior audit firm to release information regarding their prior year audit work directly to us. As much as able, we will work with your prior audit firm to obtain information that will be useful to support the current year’s beginning balances and current year’s audit.
What is the audit review process like?
a. Planning: Typically, the planning portion of the audit/review includes obtaining an executed Engagement Letter, having a planning call to discuss happenings throughout your fiscal year (or period under audit/review, agreeing upon an audit/review schedule, and providing your team with an audit/review preparation request list and questionnaire. Depending on the size of your organization and the timing of the audit/review, we may request an interim financial file so that we may make interim selections to examine before your fiscal year-end.
b. Fieldwork: Typically, based on the audit/review schedule determined at the planning stage, your team will upload all of our requests per the preparation request list by the agreed upon date to our ShareFile (secure portal). Once the full request list has been made available to Smith Sullivan and Brown PC, our audit team will process the information and get back to you with any follow-up requests or questions. At some point during this process, we may come to your facility to walkthrough processes, examine paper documentation, and discuss questions.
c. Financial Statements: Typically, once the books have been audited/reviewed, we will draft the Financial Statements. You will be provided with draft Financial Statements to review in detail. Once management and the board has given the okay, we will provide your team with Final Financial Statements, and a Management Representation Letter, which your team will print on your letterhead, and management will sign and return to us. Typically, if our team is presenting the Financial Statements to your board, this letter can be executed at that time. We may provide additional letters to your team discussing what we did, what we found, and any recommendations for improvement, shortly thereafter.
Who is responsible for internal controls?
Management is responsible for establishing, maintaining and promoting effective business practices and effective internal controls. However, virtually all employees play some role in effective controls. Systems of internal control will vary from activity to activity depending upon the operating environment, including the size of the entity, its diversity of operations and the degree of centralization of financial and administrative management.
A properly functioning system of controls improves the efficiency and effectiveness of operations, contributes to safeguarding assets, and identifies and discourages irregularities, such as questionable or illegal payments and practices, conflict of interest activities and even significant errors.
Are internal controls foolproof?
No system of internal controls is completely foolproof, nor is the point-in-time verification of those controls that an internal audit provides. A foolproof system of internal controls would be cost prohibitive and make business processes unreasonably cumbersome. Internal controls are designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives and the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, reliability of financial reporting, and compliance with laws and regulations. Even well designed controls are susceptible to collusion, the failure of employees to follow these control processes, and the failure of supervisors to enforce or monitor the controls.
What type of onboarding do you have for tax/small business?
Please submit copy for this section.