A few years ago we took a strategic decision to change the way we provide our audit and assurance services. The majority of our clients work with professional third party service providers (or intermediaries) and so we asked how the process could be improved. The answers were straight forward, yet consistent. As a result of these discussions, we enhanced our service offering.
We believe our service offering provides our clients with the assurance of ensuring the work is completed with the minimum of fuss for our clients (and their intermediaries) whilst maintaining the high quality required by the relevant standards.
Our experience has taught us that significant time is spent when junior staff are left to run the audit or assurance engagement.
A typical engagement will involve the junior doing the work, which is reviewed by the senior, then the manager, then potentially a senior manager and then only does a partner (in our case, as a corporate entity, our directors are the equivalent of partners) get involved.
This results in a number of inefficiencies:
Questions being asked a number of times by different team members;
Team members changing due to other commitments such as exams;
Staff on the team do not fully understand the industry or your clients’ business; and
Late director involvement resulting in last minute surprises.
In order to provide our clients with efficiencies in the form of time saving, we have taken the following steps.
We spend time understanding our clients’ structures, circumstances and industry prior to take on. Throughout the process our experienced team ask relevant, insightful questions, and as our budgeting process is highly evolved, our fees are fixed.
Unless there is a significant change in the scope, we invoice what we quote and since adopting this stance over 2 years ago, we have not asked for cost overruns.
We are part of Baker Tilly International (BTI), the 8th largest accountancy network in the world, and we are centrally governed in respect of our brand and quality control. We also use Baker Tilly proprietary audit software, which is one of the most advanced cloud audit programs in the industry.
However, we have significant flexibility in how we work. We make all our decisions locally, and given our wide ranging experience, we are able to adapt to situations quickly and deliver to our client needs, not around strictly enforced corporate models.
A number of our clients have come to appreciate that our approach is to "work with them, not against them."
This means that whilst we fully comply with the ethical standards and principles of independence and objectivity, we pro-actively work with our clients to find the most efficient solution to challenges they face, rather than spending a significant amount of valuable time on issues that are not critical or remaining aloof to their challenges. This is particularly critical for our clients who have tight reporting deadlines for example those listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM.
We follow international auditing, accounting and assurance standards and our audit team is well experienced including UK GAAP, US GAAP and IFRS.
An investment company. One of our recent wins (November 2012) was a $1.3 billion Jersey company investing in other companies and funds as well as in bonds, equities and derivative instruments. We won the audit on account of our very efficient and innovative approach to work with the 3rd party providers of independent confirmations in "real time" in order to meet the client's very tight reporting deadline. They were very impressed with the efficiency of our approach as well as senior time dedicated to the assignment.
An AIM listed Group. We have successfully acted as Group auditors for a number of years for this Guernsey based Group and work in close collaboration with our UK colleagues (including real time review of securely accessible online working papers). The Group owns strategic shareholdings in various companies focused on technology and renewable resources. We seamlessly coordinate with our colleagues to ensure the client’s tight reporting requirements are met.
An iconic property. We act as auditors to a unit trust (a form of property holding vehicle) that indirectly owns one of Central London’s most iconic buildings. The overall structure includes a Limited Partnership for which we work in close collaboration with other auditors. We have successfully acted for a number of years including during a period of change of ownership and administrator.
Investigation for a wealthy family. One of the biggest trust companies (intermediary) in Jersey approached us on behalf of their client, a wealthy family. The client had invested in a number of property investments in Western Europe but was concerned about the level of sales commissions and similar 3rd party fees. There was also a potential of litigation by one of the partners in the venture. Whilst not an investigation, we designed an Agreed Upon Procedures (AUP) approach that incorporated "fraud investigation" aspects that would address the client’s key concerns. The intermediary was impressed with our innovative and thorough approach which resulted in all parties accepting the report findings. The threat of litigation was largely eliminated.
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"I have been very impressed with the level of service and expertise that Baker Tilly Channel Islands have given us over the course of our relationship to date. They have provided us with invaluable advice and guidance to ensure compliance with our regulatory and legal responsibilities."
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