Posts Tagged ‘audit and assurance services’

Don’t Wait to Put Your 2018 Plan into Action

Eric WoodruffBy Eric Woodruff, CPA
Manager, Audit & Assurance Services

Now is the time of year when people look back on 2017 to take stock of the good and the bad, both personally and professionally. If you’re the member of an organization, whether as an employee, manager or owner, this is the season for things like performance evaluations, making goals for the new year and setting budgets.

If you really want to feel satisfied when this time rolls around at the end of 2018, you need to develop a strong bias for ACTION, and avoid accepting the status quo of yesterday!  Put together your plan for improvement, and put it into action – TODAY!

Not long ago we were speaking to a client who was talking about how 2017 was such a bad year for their company, but they had high hopes for 2018, with a list of plans to start doing in January. Our reaction was, if those steps will make a significant improvement in your operations and outcomes, why aren’t you doing them right now instead of waiting for New Year’s Day?

We all know how New Year’s resolutions tend to fade if you procrastinate about putting them into action right away. Without accountability and follow-up, they get put in a drawer and forgotten. So don’t wait for January 1 to get started!

If you’re an employee looking to move up the ladder at your firm, reflect on the things you’re not happy about from your last performance review, and set out a plan for improvement. Think about the skillset you want to build upon. Set benchmarks, such as monthly self-evaluations, to help measure your progress.

If you’re the owner or leader of a business, perhaps your plan of action is about increasing revenue or net profits, or articulating a vision for the future of the company. For a manager, your goals may have to do with improving operational efficiency and meeting the aspirations of the owners, or enhancing the working relationship you have with the team you supervise.

Most people find it difficult to truly hold themselves accountable. Endeavor to step back from your daily duties to give yourself some frank self-analysis that allows you to look for barriers to personal performance. Identify mistakes you’ve made, and take proactive plans not to repeat them.

If you start right away to set a really strong foundation for action in 2018, you’ll be better poised to ask the big question – “Am I satisfied?” – and come away with a positive answer a year from now.

Take the first steps now, even if it’s something as simple as scheduling time every month next year to do a self-evaluation of your progress, and perhaps asking colleagues and supervisors to give you feedback, too. Match their views with the self-assessments you perform to see where you are lacking.

The challenge is to open yourself up, be transparent and be willing to accept constructive criticism. If criticism is delivered in a positive way, it should be focused on ways of making you better. It can be hard to hear, but it gives you a solid plan going forward.

And don’t wait – start right now!

If you need any assistance with helping improve your organization, please call Eric Woodruff at (317) 613-7850 or email

6 Ways to Prepare for Your Audit

Emily CampbellBy Emily Campbell
Staff, Audit & Assurance Services

When you hear the word “audit,” do the words “stress” or “dread” immediately come to mind?

At Sponsel CPA Group, we want your audit to be a positive, hassle-free experience with us. Consider the audit process as an investment in your organization’s future by way of fine-tuning processes that allow for adequate oversight and preparation of financial statements.

To ensure you have the best experience possible with your audit, here are six steps to help the process go smoothly:

  1. Communicate with your audit team

The first thing you can do to reduce the stress of an audit is establish a timeline with your audit team. Set fieldwork dates and deadlines for compiling all requested items. Make sure any required financial statement deadlines are communicated. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and allow both you and the audit team to plan accordingly.

It is also important to communicate significant changes from prior years, such as changes in business operations, changes in accounting methodology or other major transactions (refinancing debt, new lease agreements, adopting a new accounting pronouncement, etc.) with your audit team, so that they can appropriately plan for the audit. In addition, be prepared to discuss variances in budget to actual, variances between current and prior year, and other changes – such as restructured management, ownership, new business operations, or a change in accounting personnel.

  1. Reconcile your accounts

It is crucial to reconcile all balance sheet accounts at year-end. Maintain supporting schedules for the final balances, especially for major accounts such as cash, accounts receivable, inventory, accounts payable and accrued expenses. Make sure you are able to support any management estimates used in financial reporting (e.g., allowance for doubtful accounts, inventory allowance, depreciation, functional expense allocation, etc.). We recommend having different levels of review to identify any errors, discrepancies, or variances from expectations. Review the prior year adjusting journal entry report to determine whether or not similar adjustments should be made in the current year.

  1. Update your Property, Plant and Equipment (PP&E) schedules

Review your current PP&E schedules to determine whether all assets listed are still in use and if there have been any additions or disposals the past year. Compile a list of assets purchased or sold during the year, including dates, amounts and detailed description of the assets to provide to the auditors. Also, review repair and maintenance detail to verify all assets were appropriately capitalized.

  1. Assemble an audit folder

To manage the volume of information we request, it may be helpful to compile items in one folder throughout the year for the audit team. These items could include new lease agreements, line of credit renewals, correspondence with regulators and lawsuit correspondence. The year-end request information can be saved with those documents already set aside during the year.

  1. Evaluate internal controls

Review your internal control procedures as well as the prior year management letter, and correct any deficiencies. Some areas to focus on include segregation of duties, managerial review or physical safeguards. Document the controls that are in place. Following these steps can improve the company’s internal structure and will give us a good understanding of procedures in place.

  1. Review recent accounting rule changes

Read over the new accounting rule modifications and standards and evaluate if they are applicable to your entity. See our recent article, New Accounting Standards Your Organization Needs to Know, for a brief description of key changes.

If you need help preparing for your audit, please contact Emily Campbell at (317) 613-7873 or email

Sponsel CPA Group hires Sargent

Chris SargentChristopher Sargent has joined Sponsel CPA Group as a Staff accountant in the Audit & Assurance Services department. His duties will include performing audits, reviews, compilations and agreed-upon procedures for clients, primarily closely-held companies in the construction and manufacturing industries, as well as not-for-profits.

Sargent is a graduate of Ball State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting. He previously interned for Sponsel in 2016, and is currently in the process of passing his exams for the CPA credential.

“The need for our clients to have accurate and reliable financial information about their operations has only grown in the present business climate,” said Mike Bedel, Partner and Director of Audit & Assurance Services. “Sponsel CPA Group is once again expanding its team to meet that need. Christopher is a top caliber young accountant.”

Lingenhoel, Sargent join firm

Abigail Lingenhoel Chris SargentSponsel CPA Group is pleased to welcome two new Staff accountants to the team. Abigail Lingenhoel will work in the Tax Services department, preparing individual, corporation, partnership, fiduciary and other tax returns. She has dual bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Management from Taylor University. Christopher Sargent will be part of the Audit and Assurance Services team, performing audits, reviews, compilations and agreed-upon procedures for a wide variety of clients. He is a graduate of Ball State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting. Both are currently in the process of taking the exams for their CPA certification. Welcome to them both!

AYS taps Blankman for Board of Directors

Lisa BlankmanINDIANAPOLIS – Lisa Blankman, a Manager in the Audit & Assurance Services department of Sponsel CPA Group, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of AYS.

Formerly known as At-Your-School Child Services, AYS is a not-for-profit group that specializes in providing high-quality, educational and safe programs for Central Indiana students outside of school hours. AYS runs a number of educational and support programs aimed at helping students and schools succeed. AYS serves nearly 3,000 children through the school year and 500 during summers.

Blankman is a veteran CPA who conducts audits, reviews and agreed-upon procedures. She works with clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including construction and non-profits, helping them find efficiencies and become more effective in the marketplace. She is a graduate of Marian University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

“I am so excited and honored to join the board of AYS,” Blankman said. “This is a vital organization that brings so much benefit to Indianapolis-area youth. I will bring all my energy and financial expertise to bear as a director.”

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