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Accounting services such as an audit is a common freelance business. In fact, this function is one that companies are likely to out-source, for a variety of reasons.
If you’re one of those freelancers, preparing an audit proposal is one of the most important ways you’ll win clients.
Auditing freelance jobs are usually found in the accounting and finance fields. As an audit freelancer, you’ll be asked to evaluate a variety of things, such as processes, projects, contracts or records, to name a few. Other industries use auditors too, like retail, education, technology, insurance, military or even the non-profit sector.
A successful freelance auditor needs to be detail oriented and have excellent math skills, process analysis and conflict resolution. But that doesn’t mean the ability to write proposals comes naturally.
That’s when having some help preparing an audit proposal can help. Whether you use a freelance service or you want to build your own audit proposal, here are 6 important tips in creating an audit proposal.
The first step in being a freelancer that provides accounting services is to find work. Jobs that may be relevant or interesting to you may not always be called “Auditing Jobs.”
You can also look for jobs with titles such as Financial Analyst, Risk Manager, Tax Analyst, Bookkeeper, Quality Manager, Accountant, Supervisory Auditor, and more.
Job sites are one way to find work, or you can also search for Requests for Proposals. Companies often seek an external auditor to provide an unbiased look at their processes, documents, and records.
The information requested by the client will be important when it comes to customizing your audit proposal. While each proposal will be somewhat different, let’s look at what should be included in every audit proposal.
You’ll need to have a company profile for a variety of uses, such as a website or business brochures. Your audit proposal will also need to include information on your freelance business, so you should create a profile with details on all the services you provide, and not just your audit services.
There could be additional work that you could do for a client, providing a value-add once the audit work is done, or as part of a retainer relationship.
If you don’t provide these services yourself, you may want to think about working in conjunction with other freelance financial specialists. Approaching a client with a suite of services may make it easier for you to secure the audit work you desire.
It’s important for audit contractors to clearly spell out the qualifications that are relevant to an audit freelance job. That can include a college accounting degree, sometimes called a commerce degree or a finance degree. Or, perhaps you have a certificate or other relevant training from a post-secondary institution or trade school.
Any relevant experience should also be part of this section, whether you worked in external or internal audit at a company like a bank or other corporation, for instance.
Finally, any relevant compliance or compliance audit certification should also be included in this section.
A successful audit proposal should have information on your relevant work experience. For instance, if you did an audit for a company, you can provide details on the project. It’s a good idea to ask clients if you can use them as a reference, and be sure they approve using their name in subsequent proposals. Client testimonials can also be part of this section.
If you’re just starting out as an auditor, consider doing some work on a volunteer basis. If you conduct an audit for a local charity, for instance, that kind of work can be added to your audit proposal documents as a reference.
As part of your examples of previous work, or in a separate section, you can outline the process you use to conduct an audit.
Information in this section could include the goals of the audit, an overview of the kind of information the audit will provide, and processes that may be changed as a result of the audit. You could use a flow chart as an outline, and then provide detail on each step.
If you’re responding to an RFP, be sure to follow the requested requirements, which may be an audit of a particular process or business operation. Provide detail on how you would conduct the audit outlined in the RFP. The same is true if you’ve met with the client and have information from that meeting. If you’re responding to an online request, follow those requirements as you outline your processes.
Your process can also Include the names of employees or areas of the company, business partners, and other organizations that will have to be part of your audit process. You may be able to outline the information you will need for the audit, such as tax records, regulatory compliance information and more.
Be sure to stipulate your need to access the people and information you require, particularly if you will be working remotely.
The final section of your audit proposal will be finalized for each client and job, but there are some considerations you can include in any proposal.
You’ll have to provide details on timelines, including a beginning or kickoff, milestones and completion of the audit.
Then, calculate the cost of the audit, on a per-hour basis, daily basis, or however your pricing model works. Be sure to include any expenses, as well as the cost of travel if you have to visit the company in person for any part of the work.
You could also estimate the cost of not conducting an audit, which could be money lost by poor processes, or legal or regulatory fines or fees. That’s a different way of placing value on the audit process.
By providing detail on the value of your audit, your would-be clients will understand the importance of your freelance business.