“Don’t You Bring Me No Bad News.” That’s a song in the Broadway Musical “The Wiz”, the super soul musical based on the beloved book, “The Wizard of Oz”. And this song reminds me of how we often approach audits. Do we figuratively put our hands over our ears and visit De-Nial River? It’s tempting to spend energy defending what we’ve done, rather than receiving information with objectivity, and making appropriate adjustments.
Maybe our favorite Facebook ad or Instagram post didn’t perform as anticipated. Maybe the product we created couldn’t find an audience and needs to be rethought or dropped altogether. The qualitative and quantitative data are clear, but you feel something different.
Instead of drilling down on what happened and what you’re going to do about it, you defend. You create your own data to counter “their” data, or you come up with your own interpretation of the data. Because, this is your business, your brainchild. You couldn’t be wrong. And rather than get any “bad news”, we don’t look. Or we don’t accept findings. Or we blame the person who found the problems in a classic “kill-the-messenger” move.
Why all the angst and denial? Because we are conditioned to treat the word “audit” like an invitation to prod and poke until you find some bad news to deliver about something very near and dear to me—my business. We hear audit and immediately think of the stereotype of a soulless bean counter from the IRS. (and I’ve actually met really kind and reasonable people from the IRS with great customer service.)
For Your Good
You may cringe and grimace, moan, and groan. But, in the end an audit can tell you where your strengths lie, as well as your weaknesses. Audits can tell you where you’re doing great and how you could take it up a level. They can signal trouble ahead so that you can avoid it. And they can show you where you’re fabulous so you can repeat it.
And that data that you’d like to refute with feelings? There’s nothing wrong with listening to your gut. It’s pure gold. But you need to explore why the data says one thing and your gut says another. It could be you’re collecting the wrong data. It could be that your trends are pointing to seasonal differences—temporary in nature. Or it could be that you need to update or revise your understanding of your business in a dynamic marketplace.
What Is an Audit, Anyway?
Investopedia.com says the term audit usually refers to a financial statement audit. A financial audit is an objective examination and evaluation of the financial statements of an organization. The purpose of the audit is to make sure that the financial records are a fair and accurate representation of the transactions they claim to represent. Financial audits can be conducted internally by employees of the organization. But it’s more common that they are conducted externally by an outside Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm.
An audit can tell you what’s great about your business, and where the challenges are. It can lead you to create an action plan for strengthening the weaknesses and resolving the challenges. But it can also reaffirm that you’re on track and ready to move to the next level in your business.
Is There More Than One Kind of Audit?
There are three main types of audits: external audits, internal audits, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits. External audits are commonly performed by Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms, as I’ve indicated, and result in an auditor’s opinion which is included in the audit report. Some are mandated by law.
Types of Internal audits include compliance audits, operational audits, financial audits, and information technology audits. These audits are performed to report to the manager or business owner. They are voluntary, but can provide assurance that all is well, or a roadmap for continuous improvement.
Review: What You See Is What You Get
CSD Marketing performs audits as part of our marketing plan and product launch plan development. We start out by identifying what your business goals are. Then we review your website and social media content. We identify strengths and challenges, make recommendations for change, and create an action plan for our clients. We can also implement the action plan at the client’s request.
Our approach to marketing, product launches, and audits is co-creation. We believe in transparency, letting the client see what we are seeing through the lens of our camera. And we believe in aligning our recommendations to our clients’ business goals.
A Family Affair
We don’t push you into doing what we think would be really cool if this were our business. We support you as you step into your vision of excellence and success. And we create action steps that you know how to complete, or we provide you with the training and information you need to implement them.
We operate with a commitment to “no surprises.” Because we are a family-run small business, we gravitate towards clients and businesses that we treat like another member of the family. We care about your success.