Audits and Audit Services

There are many things to consider when facing an audit or using an audit service. You may not know what to look for. You also may not know what you are doing if you are required to perform an audit. Here are a few ideas and suggestions to help get you started.

1. What Is An Audit

Audits can vary depending on what they are being used for and who is using them. There are a few very common ones that you should know about.

A business may use quality audits to ensure that its employees are doing the job that they are contracted for. They may use tactics such as cameras and customer complaints to judge whether an audit is needed and what audit process to take. An audit for business purposes can be done by an upper level employee or with an audit service program. These people can be contracted to evaluate your employees through direct contact with them. This service may use methods that include mystery shopping or open auditing, depending on what they are contracted for to find out about the employee.

There are also audits that you may perform on your own home for the purposes of measuring your electricity and gas usage. You may want to do this kind of audit when you are trying to reduce energy costs and increase efficiency.

The other kind of audit is the kind that most of us are familiar with. This is a tax audit. This kind of audit can be a scary thing. You are audited when you have a discrepancy between your stated income and in your employer's reporting of your income. If you are self employed, then you are responsible for reporting an accurate income picture. When it is not the same as what they have reported to the IRS, then you are audited. The process for this kind of audit is pretty self explanatory. The IRS contacts you to let you know that they are going to conduct an audit on your return. They will request all the information for spending and income for the year that is in question. Typically, the IRS won't get to your particular file for a couple of years after the discrepancy, but they will get to you eventually.

2. Tax Audits

To understand a tax audit and how it works, you should do your research using the Internet, or you can ask a tax professional in your area for guidance. They will be able to help you understand an audit, so you can avoid it or prepare for one that may be inevitable.

One of the first things to do if you are going to be audited is to talk to your tax preparer. They will have a plan of action that you can follow to help make the audit process easier to go though. Sometimes, they may have an audit protection plan that you can count on for help when you are audited. You may have heard about them though the media. Check with your tax preparer to see what options they have that you can look into.

The other thing to remember, if you are the victim of an audit, is not to panic. You may not think that you can get through it, but many people have been there and you can too. Make sure that you have support to help you though this hard time, as well, because you may need other input and guidance for the audit procedure.

3. Business Audits

There are many kinds of audits that you can go through or have to perform. If you are in business, there is a possibility that you will have to perform a quality audit or have one performed on you.

There are a few reasons that a business might do this audit process on a frequent basis. One of those may be if they are not sure of your abilities as they might pertain to your job performance. They may want to see if the complaints made against you have any validity, or if you are doing a great job and maybe just rubbed a customer the wrong way. There are many reasons a quality audit might be performed for the company.

Another way an employer may do a quality audit is by showing up at the time you are working and shadow you for the day. This way, they will see how you work in your work environment. This helps them decide if your performance is good and up to their standards. They may also do this without your knowing that they are there. This is one of the most standard ways to audit employees and their work performance.

4. Who's At Risk?

We are all at risk for an audit, but it seems that there are a few people that may be more at risk then others.

The people that seem to be at the most risk for a quality audit are the workers that are reported as not doing what they are supposed to be doing. Sometimes, companies have a mandatory quality audit every so often. These you can't avoid, and you should not worry about them if you are doing your job and have pride in the work that you are doing. If you are not comfortable with an audit, then make sure you check your employee manual, and if needed, talk to your manager. An audit is not the end of the world. Most of the time, they just want to find out what you are doing and how to improve your work. The employer may also want to evaluate their standards as a business, as well.

The most at risk group for a tax audit are business owners and those that work for themselves. These groups of people are at risk because they often do their own taxes and keep track of their own income. This can make it harder to give the government an accurate amount of income at tax time. If you are a business owner, sometimes it pays to spend the extra money on a tax professional and have the peace of mind that you are covered if you are audited.

5. How To Avoid An Audit

Avoiding an audit is easier then you may think. You just have to follow a few guidelines and keep your common sense.

A major kind of audit is called a quality audit, which may be conducted by businesses to make sure that their employees are conducting themselves properly. These audits are very common in the business world, as an employer will need to make sure that they are being represented in a positive way. A good way to avoid a quality audit is to make sure that you don't have any complaints against you. You are less likely to get audited if there seems to be no cause for alarm on the employer's end. Also, if you are doing your job and doing it well, then you shouldn't have to worry about an audit while you are working.

The other is, as mentioned above, a financial audit. This can be done by a governing entity or by the IRS. These audits are primarily done to ensure your financial accuracy. These are easily avoided by hiring a tax professional. Otherwise, you will need to be sure you are giving the right information.

6. Audit Process

The audit process can vary depending on what is being audited. A quality audit will be different from a tax audit. Here is the process that is usually followed for each type.

A quality audit is a type that is done by an employer or agency that the employer may hire. The audit process for this kind of audit is usually the same almost every time. The employer will monitor how you behave while working and see how you deal with the customers and relate to other employees. Sometimes, these agencies will audit you without your knowing that they are doing it. This is called mystery shopping. There are many agencies now throughout the US that do this as a service to employers.

The audit process for a tax audit is very different in that the person who is being audited is given a letter letting them know that it is happening and when it will happen. They are also expected to have the paperwork ready that they need for the IRS to review. This can speed up the audit process, if they know what they need to substantiate, or whether they need to contact their tax professional for support

7. Audit Programs

There are a couple of things that audit programs can mean. Most likely, you are doing the auditing if you are using an audit program for business.

If you are in a management position, then you may be required to audit your employees. This can be aided though a program that your employer has set up for you to follow. Generally, there are set things that are looked for as an employer and by your company. You may have to make your own judgments as far as the employee's performance and how they react to the job details around them. The audit program can be a trained program that is followed by all employees in the company, or it can be customized though software that is available online or though audit companies. This really depends on what your company is doing and what they want to find out about. The company you work for may not even audit very often, but if you are not ready for your audit experience, then you will most likely not pass. If your company likes to switch things up, then most likely, they are using an audit software program.

Knowing how your company uses audit programs can help you if you are audited by your company. If you know what it is that they are looking for when they audit you, then you can prevent an audit or get though one with good marks. This may help you in the long run protect your position and keep your job should you become audited.

8. What To Do If You're Audited

Many people have survived the inconvenience of being audited. You can too, if you know what to expect and what to do.

If you find that you are subject to a quality audit by your company, you should not panic. These types of audits are common and easy to get through. If you feel like you are not ready for a quality audit, then you should not hesitate to tell your manager. They may help you prepare for it, so you won't feel like you are being targeted when you are not prepared.

9. Audit Companies

There are many companies that offer services for audits. These may include mystery shopping companies, as well as other regulatory firms that may work for businesses or for the government. Typically, these positions are contracted, and the auditors are a third party that is not biased to either side. You can do a search on the Internet to find the companies and their guidelines.

Sometimes, individuals may be contracted to perform an audit. There are job sites on the Internet that show what these jobs are and where to find them. Generally, these positions are easy to find. It really depends on what part of the country you live in and what your auditing experience may be. If you are looking for an auditing position, then you should not be discouraged. There are many of these job opportunities available if you can take the time to find them. My advice is to find a good company and stick with them for your auditing work. This way, you will have a steady work stream and know whom you are working for.

While some of these tips may help you through an audit or survive one, you should always use common sense and be prepared, so you are not caught off guard by an audit and will know how to handle it.
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