Koch’s Corner: Audit Quality at Gray, Gray & Gray

Koch’s Corner delivers concise, “need to know” summaries of important updates on accounting and assurance issues for privately-held companies.

By Richard Koch, CPA
Director of Quality Control at Gray, Gray & Gray

The quality of an audit is an essential part of the level of assurance and confidence the client will have upon its completion. The factors that go into a trustworthy audit include the technical competence of the audit team, the working relationship between the client and the audit partner, and the integrity of the audit firm. Each of these factors is firmly established and prioritized at Gray, Gray & Gray.

Audit quality begins with our people – from our firm’s Leading Partner who sets the tone at the top, to the audit intern embarking on what will become an exciting new career. To that end we place a huge emphasis on a technical education, along with a continuation of learning throughout a career. Many of our partners and professional staff hold advanced degrees, and we place great importance on the passing of the CPA exam (and provide significant support in that regard).  Continuous professional education is required in order to ensure our professionals are current in technical accounting, auditing and financial reporting.

Technical consultation is an important aspect of our quality control.  A full-time Quality Control Director performs engagement quality reviews of the majority of our assurance engagements; and manages quality control initiatives such as monitoring through internal inspections.  Through our professional affiliation with CPAmerica we have access to technical resources and inbound and outbound referrals throughout the United States, with similar resources available internationally through Crowe Global.

We also place a high value on the development of “people skills” in communication, supervision, and leadership. These are the values and competencies that help to create an atmosphere of trust and collaboration between clients and our firm. Our audit process is clearly defined and has been purposely structured based on many years of experience. Each client knows what to expect and when to expect it.

Our audit methodology is risk-based and paperless.  We focus on what is important and devote our time accordingly.  Our workpapers, accounting and auditing research library, audit tools, project workflow and practice management are all online.  As an example of our resilience and preparedness, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, we were operating remotely within 24 hours; and continue to perform virtual audits during this pre-opening phase.

Finally, independence and ethical behavior have been hallmarks of our firm since our founding 75 years ago. We have over 400 assurance clients for whom we perform audits, reviews and compilations. We have in-depth industry experience; as evidenced by our serving as the auditor for over 100 employee benefit plans, over 25 heating oil companies, as well as businesses across a broad cross-section of industries, including real estate, manufacturing and distribution and professional services.

As a result of this emphasis on rigorous professionalism and technical excellence, we recently received the highest rating of “PASS” from our triennial external peer review administered by the National Peer Review Committee of the AICPA.

We would be pleased to have the opportunity to meet with you – in person or virtually – to learn more about your organization and how we may be able to assist you.

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