Risk Update

Audit Letter Response — WilmerHale Shares Its Automation “Saga” and Success at ILTA Conference (Case Study Summary)

I’ve seen growing chatter about streamlining audit letter response workflow management. So with it was with great interest that I tuned in to WilmerHale’s case study presentation at the recent ILTA>ON conference. And I wasn’t the only one taking note — the firm was a finalist for ILTA’s “Transformative Project of the Year” award.

It was a great presentation (I confess their thematic “Star Wars” introduction didn’t hurt at all, in my book). And I found myself motivated to generate a summary of their particular solution story, with some highlights below of the complete version you here: “Audit Response Letters, Rebels & Risk Management: A Compliance Saga” —

At the session, Miranda Perkins (Knowledge Manager) and Mary Goldsmith (Business Relationship Manager) started things off just my speed…

The Wilmer team provided a very clear and concise overview of the audit letter risk management problem:

  • “When a client prepares audited financial statements, they are required to disclose any event that may affect their financial status, including pending and potential litigation.”
  • “The auditor confirms management’s assessment of these risks by reaching out to their lawyers.”
  • “The audit letter process is the means by which the accountant obtains that confirmation from us [the law firm].”

The Wilmer team shares how they designed and implemented a solution to automate this, with software-driven document creation and process workflow management (notifications, reminders, tracking, and reporting).

  • The Wilmer team reports that the new system slashed manual and repetitive work, making the process 36% more efficient by their metrics. That translated into saving hundreds of hours in short order, and earning significant kudos from lawyers and cheers from paralegals.
  • Seriously — partners on the audit committee called the new solution “magical” and “revolutionary” — quite the reviews indeed.
  • In the case of conflicts staff, the time they spend responding to audit letter request tasks has been slashed by 85%.

There’s more to the story, so see my complete article at: “Audit Response Letters, Rebels & Risk Management: A Compliance Saga” and give it a “like” on LinkedIn, if you’re so inclined.