Most people in business and industry, and those leading non-profit operations, are acquainted with financial audits.  They may know more than they care to in regards to the standards and practices involved with such audits.  The American Institute of CPA’s for instance, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board have issued guidelines and in fact the Accounting and Review Services Committee of the AICPA just recently issued new standard and review guidelines.
Fewer people are familiar with legal audits, we find.  But almost every company and non-profit organization operate in a milieu where regulations and standards and statutes create obligations.  Some companies and non-profits are finding that–despite sometimes tighter government budgets–greater scrutiny by government employees is the order of the day.
Of course, many non-profits and businesses try hard to keep up with various contractual and regulatory obligations–and most do a decent job. But an independent outside audit will review actual or potential violations and because of the distance or independence of the audit team they can often find shortcomings management has overlooked.
Given the drive and passion of most entrepreneurs and non-profit managers, compliance and regulatory issues can take a back seat.  But ignoring these operational aspects and requirements can create real problems as well as a “black-eye” for an organization.  For one such example, see this news item about a facility in Muskegon:
Regularly conducting independent, confidential compliance audits is the best way to assess possible compliance risks–and because our firm does it, the work can most always be done in a confidential fashion.  Your business or non-profit, with our help, can then fix things as a result of an audit.  And if you operate in an environment where there are reporting requirements as a result of an audit, we can help you prepare the report.
Legal audits are typically shaped to your specific business and obligations.  They may also be arranged so that, over the course of time, different “parts” of your operations get the scrutiny. The best practice is to make  legal audits pay.  That is, since legal audits will take some time and energy from the business, and since our firm or other firms will most likely be charging you for the audit–you might want to pick out key or core areas or contracts and regulations to focus on for the first audit.  Then a few years down the road, pick other areas for audit.
And despite the costs involved an audit can also “pay” in another way.  This is because, by being proactive, one can often forestall larger problems of which a company or organization is not aware.  It is cheaper and smarter to find and fix problems, rather than by responding to a whistle blower complaint of one kind or another, or dealing with a complaint by a disgruntled employee or  contractor. In that light, legal audits are a smart investment for most companies and non-profits.
Bradley Vauter & Associates, P.C. stands willing to help with a legal audit tailored to your business or organization needs.  Feel free to contact us for our simple handout that outlines some of the areas you should be thinking about in regards to audits–we’ll mail that out free, with no obligation on your part.