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Blog By Retain

Resource planning best practices: A guide for auditors


By Rahat Ahmed
Resource Management Growth Leader

  • 7 min

For auditors, getting resource planning right is essential to ensure audit controls and processes hold up to scrutiny. Balancing the skills, capacity, and workload of internal auditing teams is no easy feat, but best practice resource planning can make all the difference. 

However, optimising resources is no easy task. Auditors need to juggle mitigating staff turnover, burn-out, skills shortages, and precise auditing requirements.

The good news is, by following resource planning best practices—tried and tested by leading auditing firms—you can optimise your workforce and increase overall efficiency, while remaining compliant.

The top challenges of resource planning in auditing

Auditors face unique and complicated challenges when it comes to resource planning. Since you’re dealing with highly skilled professionals and complex auditing requirements, things can get complicated without the right approach (sometimes it feels like pulling teeth too).

The most pressing challenges that auditors face include:

🟢Monotony and precision: Auditing, by nature, involves repetition and meticulous attention to detail. Yet, routine can sometimes be the enemy of precision. The repetitive nature of the job can lead to complacency, making it easier for mistakes to creep in. 

🟢Regular staff rotation: To combat the monotony and ensure fresh perspectives, senior auditors often rotate staff. However, this isn't a straightforward swap. The incoming personnel must have the right expertise and competency, to ensure continuity and consistency in the audit process.

🟢Evolving skill requirements: Gone are the days when auditors just needed a sharp eye and business acumen. The digital age demands a blend of traditional auditing skills with a tech-savvy approach. And as global work cultures shift towards flexibility, auditors now need to be adept at both in-person and remote auditing techniques.

🟢Continuous training and upskilling: With evolving regulations and compliance coming in all the time, for auditors, this means their knowledge base and skill set must continually evolve. 

🟢Flexible careers: Today's professionals seek growth based on skill and merit, not just tenure. This requires a more dynamic approach to career development within the auditing department, further complicating resource management.

🟢Embracing flexibility: Even in auditing, where onsite presence was once seen as essential, hybrid work models have become the norm. Adapting to this new model, while ensuring data security and process integrity, presents its own set of challenges.

Addressing these challenges is no small feat. Fortunately, these challenges are easy to overcome if you use the right best practices, thoughtfully. 

5 resource planning best practices for auditors

Resource planning best practices for auditors

For audit functions to operate to best practice, it requires consideration of a variety of factors:

#1. Optimise workload and team capacity

It goes without saying that human resources are the biggest investment for an audit and accounting business. So you must utilise your people efficiently and intelligently. The problem is, most auditors are using either siloed spreadsheets or home-grown tools for scheduling and planning resources. 

To put it bluntly, don't scatter resources across various platforms or spreadsheets. Instead, use a single, centralised tool to manage all your resource planning. This holistic view ensures clarity, identifies resource gaps, and offers insights that drive effective decision-making. In fact, an effective resource planning system, like Retain, can provide a clear understanding of your upcoming workload and your team's ability to handle it. 

#2. Efficient prioritisation and scheduling

Many accounting and auditing projects come with tight deadlines, often requiring practitioners to juggle several projects at once. Combined with a skills shortage, it’s a tricky one for auditors to manage. 

But with a diverse skill set becoming increasingly important in auditing, it’s crucial to ensure that assignments align with individual skills. Specialist software, like Retain, can help in matching the right auditors with the right projects, ensuring quality and efficiency.

Plus, by actively monitoring resource utilisation rates, auditing departments can enhance efficiency, reduce downtime, and make informed staffing decisions.

#3. Optimise the balance of auditors

In the audit and accounting sector, there's a noticeable uptick in the need for auditors around specific times of the financial year. You might need a strategic mix of both on-demand and full-time staff to meet the varying demands of projects.

Take, for example, the need for a senior tax analyst to manage and file taxes for a short-duration assignment. If the current team is already occupied, bringing in a temporary consultant could ensure the task is completed efficiently and on schedule.

Leveraging data to understand your current team's capacity and identifying skill gaps ensures strategic recruitment. Hiring becomes a solution-driven process rather than a reactive one.

#4. Adapt and remain flexible

To combat job monotony and ensure fresh perspectives, it's essential to be agile in reallocating resources. Tools that allow dynamic resource shuffling without the hassle can be invaluable here.

The right software ensures you are ready to shift resources or tweak schedules when the unexpected occurs. You can see up to 12 months utilisation reporting to understand who’s got capacity to take on more, and discover gaps in talent or skills you need to fill. This type of capacity planning allows you to work out who is going to become available and when. 

#5. Prioritise professional growth and skill enhancement

The world of auditing doesn’t stand still, and neither should auditors. Data-driven talent management unlocks employee potential by supporting personal development, career ambitions, and flexible working. 

You can then optimise the planning process by finding out who has the right skills, availability, and capacity—and where current and future gaps are. 

With the right technology in place, you can empower employees to manage their own talent profiles, including experience, skills, education, charge rates, and more. Plus, you ensure that you align individual diaries and flexible working arrangements, so if someone doesn’t work Friday’s, no bookings can be made at those times. No more unachievable deadlines. No more staff burnout. 

Introducing resource planning software for auditors

In an age where data drives decision-making and technology enhances productivity, it's no surprise that resource planning software is becoming indispensable for auditing departments. 

Retain resource planning software for auditors

(Retain makes internal auditing resource management easy with skills matching, simple scheduling, utilisation tracking, and more.

Let's look at why integrating software into your operations can redefine how you view, manage, and update your resources:

1. Comprehensive oversight: The right software can offer a consolidated view of all your resources—their availability, skill sets, ongoing tasks, and more. Custom security conditions ensure the right people have the right level of role-based access, all while maintaining stringent security protocols.

2. Skills and training tracking: The right resource planning software allows you to track the evolving skills of your team, highlighting areas for potential training and development.

3. Efficient workload distribution: By assessing real-time data on workloads and resource availability, the right software ensures that no team member is overburdened or underutilised. This supports talent management by enhancing job satisfaction and ensures optimal productivity.

4. Clear audit trails: Manage resources with confidence with transparent processes that show who last updated resources and when. Plus, Retain’s AI-powered scheduling shows how the suitability of a match is made. No more audit red flags. No more ‘black box’ issues. 

5. Data-driven recruitment: By identifying recurring skills gaps or frequently overburdened resources, the right software can provide actionable insights into recruitment needs. This ensures that hiring is proactive, targeted, and aligned with the department's strategic objectives.

6. Enhanced agility: The dynamic nature of auditing means that plans often change. Resource management software allows for quick reallocation and adjustment, ensuring that the auditing process remains on track, even when the unexpected occurs.

7. Cost efficiency: By optimising resource utilisation, minimising downtime, and aiding strategic recruitment, resource management software can contribute significantly to cost savings. To be clear on this, you can discover your ROI here

8. Seamless integrations: Modern software solutions often integrate seamlessly with other tools and platforms, creating a cohesive tech ecosystem that further streamlines processes and enhances data accuracy.

Software solutions like Retain offer features tailored to the unique demands of auditing, ensuring that departments can navigate the complexities of the field with confidence and precision. (If you’re ready for that next step, you can book a demo here.)

The future of auditing with best practice resource planning

Specialist resource planning technology is a strategic tool.

It helps auditors manage resources with accuracy, flexibility, and full audit trails, all while establishing a consistently high-quality experience across the board. 

At the same time, your clients can benefit from its ability to hit client milestones, ensure no budget overruns, and deliver maximum value. 

Auditing is filled with challenges, but also huge opportunities. That’s why you not only need the best minds—but also the best tools. With the right resource management tools in place, you can be fully prepared.

Learn more about how Retain can support your resource management needs.

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