How Strongbox Revolutionizes the PBC Request List in the Modern Audit
Prepared By Client (PBC) lists have long been a staple in the auditing world. These lists, which detail the documents and data auditors need clients to provide, are crucial for a smooth audit process. Yet, the traditional approach has long been a pain in the side of clients and auditors alike. The process of both parties fulfilling the items on the PBC list usually combines emails, spreadsheets, word documents, shared drives, and phone calls back-and-forth. It’s a system that leads to inefficiencies, missed items, and communication errors – plus wasteful sitting around waiting for the data the audit team needs. Enter Strongbox: the next-generation PBC request list software that’s changing the game for auditors across the country.
The Importance of Client Satisfaction in Audits
It’s no secret that clients don’t exactly love their auditor. They’re busy running their business and here comes the auditor demanding all sorts of complicated reports with the sole goal of double checking their work. The data requested is rarely available in a simple, already created report. Instead, the client has to go figure out not only what data is needed but also how to find it and share it with the auditor.
After all that, the auditor may even come back and say – actually, what I need now is this other complicated piece of data. At best, it can feel like a nuisance. At its worst, it can feel downright adversarial.
Why is this bad for the auditor? An adversarial relationship can result in data being sent late, incomplete, or in unhelpful chunks that create extra work. During the busiest time of year, when a firm is handling multiple audits at the same time, these delays lead to waste, unhappy team members, and lost revenue potential.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
How the Strongbox PBC Request List Software Makes for a Better Client Experience
Strongbox is a powerful PBC request list software designed to streamline and simplify the process of gathering needed data for an audit. Instead of simply being a checklist, Strongbox extracts about 80% of the ENTIRE request list in a single click for the client. The result is a much shorter PBC Request List that your client needs to slough through. See this example:
Strongbox is able to take this 37 item PBC list down to just 10. By generating a URL with Strongbox, the auditor can extract financial data directly from the accounting system via a secure, read-only connection. Strongbox delivers this data to the auditor in Excel already formatted to meet the auditor’s needs (including completed upload templates for audit software).
The client is happy because instead of hunting around for 27 reports within their accounting system, they just have to click a single link. The auditor is happy because they get complete data from the start without having to reformat pdfs or send follow up requests for missing information.
Here’s just a sampling of some of the data Strongbox provides an audit team:
Audit Team Needs: Trial Balance
Every audit starts with the trial balance, which most teams upload into their auditing software to prepare work papers. This data is rarely in the format needed for upload, making this the first task for an audit team.
Strongbox output: Ready-to-upload data for the most commonly used audit software
Audit Team Needs: AR/AP Details & Agings
AR and AP agings are a crucial component to every audit and can frequently be a confusing report for clients to pull.
Strongbox output: Aging reports and charts, including by due date, by transaction date, and detailed agings by customer and vendor (plus the raw data)
Audit Team Needs: General Ledger Details
Accounting systems hold a multitude of data in their general ledgers, but accessing that information can be challenging as full reports can be difficult to run for the client and they tend to send items over in pieces as needed.
Strongbox output: Strongbox extracts all information from the general ledger and deliver it in a clean, flat table ready for your pivots and formulas!
Audit Team Needs: Completeness Test between Trial Balance and General Ledger
As the audit team receives the trial balance and various general ledger details, this data needs to be reconciled to ensure a complete population of data.
Strongbox output: A monthly, detailed reconciliation of every transaction in the general ledger to the trial balance accounts
Strongbox’s Impact on the Modern Audit
Integrating Strongbox into your audit processes offers several tangible benefits:
Efficiency Gains: By automating a huge portion of the PBC list, Strongbox cuts down on the time spent managing requests, making your team more productive more often.
Reduced Errors: With automated data extraction, the chances of human errors while manually manipulating or reformatting data are drastically lowered.
Enhanced Client-Auditor Relationship: A smooth, hassle-free PBC process enhances the overall client experience. This can lead to a stronger relationship, more helpful contributions, and even pave the way for more collaborative interactions in future engagements. Referrals from satisfied clients could be another win.
A Predictable Workflow: One of the most difficult steps to plan for in an audit is when the team will receive data and how complete that data will be (vs. one-by-one reports sent by the client). By having a complete, reconciled dataset available at the click of the button by your client – the team can be confident on when work will start and what the data looks like.
Firms that implement technology to gather and deliver client data are the firms that will thrive through difficult times. These firms will scale faster without sacrificing quality. A forward-looking growth mindset, while not always accounting’s strong suit, is proving to be success for those firms that embrace it. It will eventually become something that clients expect, and if your firm isn’t providing digital solutions that make their life easier, then you may find them take their business to a firm that does.
Try Strongbox at Your Firm Today
Strongbox, as a dedicated PBC request list software, is not just a tool. It’s a transformative, “life-changing” solution for modern audit firms. By focusing on providing positive client experiences while improving accuracy and efficiency, firms using Strongbox have a leg up on their competition. For those looking to elevate their auditing game and provide an unmatched client experience, Strongbox is undoubtedly the future. Schedule time today to see it for yourself.