In these difficult times it is easy to put compliance matters to the back of our minds. We understand that your main priority will be adjusting to new ways of working and supporting your clients through difficult times. However, as firms are still required to comply with the various regulations that impact on them, we can support with this remotely as we move forward.
To support you in this, we have decided to move our onsite peer reviews to remote peer reviews until further notice. We are keen that the process remains as interactive and supportive as possible, so our usual debrief meetings will still be going ahead, via telephone or video call. If your firm has an onsite review already scheduled in, we will contact you to discuss the ways we can undertake the review remotely. Firms will need to be careful they do not leave it too late and then come up against an annual return or filing deadline and a review has not taken place. In some cases (subject to availability) it may be possible to agree a face to face visit later in the year, however we have no idea how long the current situation will go on for.
Our consultants have experience in a range of approaches, including sharing documents securely, accessing desktops remotely and dealing with information sent over software and in the post. This will ensure that firms with different systems can still benefit from our services remotely.
What if my firm is purely paper based?
For a firm that is purely paper based and all documents are printed, we can arrange for a courier to come and collect the records from you and bring it to a consultant to perform the review. Of course, following completion we will then return them all back to you for safekeeping.
How can I share documents?
If your documents are in files (for example Word, Excel and PDF) or can be scanned to be in this format, we have a Secure Document Exchange (SDE) where files can be uploaded for consultants to access from their home location. If access to a scanner is a problem, we recommend using an app for a smartphone (such as Scanner Pro https://apps.apple.com/sl/app/scanner-pro-pdf-scanner-app/id333710667).
If audit files are electronic and created using well known systems (e.g. CaseWare or Audit Automation), we have a lot of experience in using those and the files can be sent to us via the SDE. For web-based packages (such as MyWorkPapers) then we can simply access it using a login you provide.
Are there any other options?
If you cannot or do not want to send information to us, then there may still be other ways we can work with you to access the information. For example, using video conferencing software we may be able to view certain information “down the lens”, or we can use the same software to enable you to share your desktop so we can see information stored on your system.
This is of course new to many firms, so please do get in touch if you have any questions. And don’t forget the process will remain as interactive and supportive as possible and we will continue to do all the usual debrief meetings.
There may also be questions that arise on individual clients and our Technical Query line remains open so firms can receive quick answers on specific cases. To log a Technical Query, please go to the website (https://www.mercia-group.co.uk/forms/tech-query-request/).
To contact us to discuss ways we can help your firm remotely, please call 0116 366 8805.