The experience and perspective of an outside voice can add value in ways you might not expect.
By Caroline Bancroft
If you were asked to name one of the most cost-effective ways of adding value to your practice, what would your answer be? Hire a consultant? Implement new software? Both can be costly, with no guarantee of success.
Have you considered that it might be as simple as undergoing a quality review with CPA Australia?
The Quality Review Program, while intended to examine a practice from the perspectives of compliance and education (specifically by identifying changes necessary for compliance), also puts the reviewer in a unique position.
Peviewers bring experience from their own practice and many have also reviewed several businesses over the years.
This makes them able to share insight and recommendations as to how to improve practices in areas other than those directly linked to compliance.
While each practice is unique, there are many similarities between practices of similar size offering equivalent services. The reviewer can make practical suggestions based on comparisons.
The frank and honest exchange of ideas, plus the member’s ability to seek advice on a number of areas while the reviewer is on hand, are among the benefits those reviewed most commonly cite.
In fact, in the program’s most recent evaluation, 89 per cent of responding members agreed the review added value to their practice.
This is a reflection of the approach CPA Australia takes to supporting its members in practice, and efforts to make the review process an experience that works “on the business” not “in the business”.
What’s more, the quality review is free to all members holding a CPA Australia Public Practice Certificate.
All participants in quality reviews also receive an evaluation form.
CPA Australia encourages members to complete it so the program can continue to evolve, grow and add value.
Here’s some first-hand feedback from members undergoing a quality review in the last 12 months.
“We found the process to be informative and educational. Our reviewer provided great insight into checklists and procedures that allow us to provide quality-assured accounting reports. We have adopted new processes since this review that allow us to confidently prepare work, which assures client confidence in utilising a CPA-branded practice. The process was professionally undertaken and of great value.”
“It has assisted me in reviewing my systems and procedures to minimise risk. The reviewer has helped me look objectively at my business with a view to improving its operation.”
“The review process added value to my practice by highlighting the importance of many day-to-day factors, by providing guidance in a practical manner, and by improving my understanding of quality assurance.”
“Having our systems and controls [examined] in the safety of a QA review has facilitated an external [assessment of] the strengths and weaknesses of our current systems. This process also provided an opportunity to hear of alternative approaches that we could use to benchmark and challenge our methodologies. Truly worthwhile.”
“The review greatly assisted in regards to maintaining good procedures, standard practices and professionalism within the practice. The review also enables the practitioner to [examine] the practice in its entirety and make decisions as to what changes should or could be made for the future.”