The collation of evidence could be considered as one of the biggest pain points of performing and completing your assurance report.
At Assure UK we have recognised 5 best practices of how you can collate and organise evidence to ensure a smooth and quick assurance process:
We recommend introducing a resource planner for your business. A resource planner allows you to outline key processes and policies and requires you to implement a review frequency timetable, essentially a review tracker. This planner incorporates a systematic review structure to ensure processes and policies are updated in accordance with your controls, reducing the risk for any exceptions for controls not met during the period. The creation of this planner will enhance your organisation and provide your auditor further assurance that your controls have been running effectively during your reporting period.
We recommend you ensure your processes are set and replicated from Scheme to Scheme. Having a set process will allow easy collation of evidence for your AAF project and reduce comments and queries from your auditor on noted differences. For example, a key process we recommend being implemented as standardised is the client take-on process. All documents for each take-on should be standard to ensure the take-on is fully completed and the same requirements are achieved from the ceding service provider.
As well as a set process, we also recommend you ensure your processes are fully documented and records are kept for a set period of time. As an example we recognise a best practice for items requiring approval are physically signed using an authorisation form rather than through an email. Authorisation through various mediums can cause an increased risk of confusion and misinterpretation. Standardising your processes and retrieving physical copies will provide additional assurance and comfort on your controls.
We recommend documentation is organised clearly through labelling and accessible folders. This could be considered as a tedious task, however a clear filing system will allow organisation in the workplace and easy collation of evidence to complete your AAF.
Finally, kick of the assurance process early. We recommend planning your AAF at least 2 months ahead of the year end. At Assure UK we select your samples early which allows you plenty of time to begin the collation of evidence. We begin testing ahead of your year end to release the pressure of signing of the report in tight deadlines post year end.
At Assure UK we can help you effectively plan for a fast and easy AAF process. We have the ability to provide you templates and proformas to help you follow best practices.
If you would like to know more about assurance reports and the AAF options available for you and the guidance we can provide, please get in contact with us at email@example.com or call us on 020 8112 7300.