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The Importance of a Strong Auditor-Client Relationship


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The Importance of a Strong Auditor-Client Relationship

A strong auditor-client relationship creates a winning combination in which your auditor provides better advice and your authority can spend more time focused on key operations.

Here is a more in-depth look at why this relationship is so important to the success of your housing authority.

The importance of business continuity

The process of selecting an auditor can be arduous because a thorough vetting process can be time-consuming. Once a firm is selected, executive directors often complain of spending significant time and effort training new auditors on their processes and methodologies rather than focusing on daily operations and the authority’s mission.

Working with the same auditor year after year eliminates this often-painstaking onboarding process and guarantees that you are working with an auditor who not only knows your industry, but also the ins and outs of your authority. According to the Affordable Housing Association of CPAs (AHACPA), “Every change in auditors represents an additional opportunity for audit failure due to a lack of client-specific knowledge.”

The public housing learning curve

Housing authorities are subject to some of the most complex regulatory requirements of any industry. As such, housing authority audits require deeper industry knowledge and more stringent educational requirements than many for-profit sector audits. Therefore, working with a CPA firm that has deep housing authority experience will minimize costs and disruptions to you and your staff.

Additionally, by partnering with a CPA firm experienced in public housing authorities, your auditor knows what is important to the users of your audit report and can tailor the audit appropriately.

The strategic value of the audit

Never underestimate the strategic value of the audit and your auditor. As industry experts and an expert on your specific housing authority, your auditor is uniquely qualified to serve as a strategic advisor and sounding board for your organization beyond the audit. For example, your auditor can share the impacts of upcoming regulatory changes, provide insights into trends that could impact your organization and advise on day-to-day challenges.

In the months ahead, a strong relationship with your auditor will be more important than ever as the Trump Administration significantly decreases the HUD budget and public housing authorities across the nation scramble to meet the needs of their communities with less. Take advantage of the expertise of your auditor and brainstorm cost-saving options for your authority. Together you can develop a plan for the months and years ahead.

The power of trust

Auditors who trust their clients find it much easier to express their concerns and skepticisms to the client. “When you like someone, it is easier to say that something is wrong and must be corrected,” according to an article in CFO magazine.

In addition, auditors who trust their clients are often more likely to share their candid opinions about what’s going on within the organization. This level of transparency between auditor and client allows the authority’s executive director to gain greater insights into organizational and operational improvements that can increase efficiencies and performance.

A strong auditor-client relationship can help you advance your organization and its mission. A dedicated auditor can be the executive director’s greatest ally in managing the ever-increasing complexity of housing authority regulatory and operational requirements.