What’s Behind the Auditor Document Request List Philosophy?

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The infamous audit Document Request List, or DRL – it’s not likely a welcome item because it represents a significant amount of data gathering steps for the company financial department.  Further, the due dates assigned to each DRL item can be challenging in collecting and supplying each audit support document to the auditor by the requested date.  So, why are all those requested dates so important?  Are they truly necessary dates to be met, or just a variable benchmark?  Let’s address those questions by looking at what happens behind the scenes.

Unmistakably, the DRL process is a critical collaboration between the client company and its auditor.  In most instances that are unbeknownst to the client, behind the scenes on the auditor side of the equation there is much planning activity pegged to those DRL expected dates.  Some involve advance study of specific DRL data prior to commencing fieldwork.  This includes analysis of finalized client-prepared financial statements and support data in advance of fieldwork in order to efficiently assign various steps to auditors prior to the first day of fieldwork.  Additionally, as the DRL support is received, portions of it are secondarily distributed to other auditors to commence analysis work.  As an efficiency component, a measureable amount of actual “fieldwork” is able to be performed off-site, thereby reducing the amount of actual on-site fieldwork days the auditor must be present at client offices.  An example of this in the JLKR Dallas office is the rigorous application of the At Your Desk (AYD) model.  We complete an important amount of assigned and structured work at our desks if we timely receive the requested AYD DRL items.  This allows us to reduce the actual days of on-site fieldwork by having efficiently addressed the work at our desks prior to the fieldwork trip.  So, do those DRL due dates really mean anything?  They certainly do, as briefly explained above.  And, meeting those dates certainly will help in staying within the engagement fee estimate.

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