What I’ve Learned as a First-Year Auditor

Amy Donaghue

By: Liz Cone, AAP, Manager, Audit Services

I am an Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) and have been working with ACH for several years. Yet, in the short amount of time I’ve been with EPCOR, I have learned a great deal. I’m excited to keep learning more and more throughout the years to come and keep meeting our members. But for now, I would like to share a small glimpse of what I’ve learned thus far in hopes it helps you have a smooth audit experience:

  • When an audit is scheduled, the financial institution is assigned a specific auditor for their service. If you have questions about any of the documentation that is requested or any of the questions on the questionnaire, you can reach out to your auditor at any time, and he or she will be more than happy to answer your questions or provide any clarification.
  • While preparing for your audit, you can use the “Comments/Notes/Responsible Party” column on the checklist to provide additional information to your auditor. This can include whether a checklist item applies to your institution or who your auditor can speak to about that particular checklist item. Additionally, it is important to provide each of the checklist items requested for your audit. If you don’t understand why that item is being requested, feel free to reach out to your auditor for clarification or an explanation.
  • Be sure to include all the requested policies and procedures. This helps your auditor answer questions regarding your compliance with the ACH Rules. Many audit questions can be answered by reviewing your financial institution’s policies and procedures, so it’s important to make sure that those are available to your auditor.
  • While EPCOR strives to make the checklist and questionnaire as thorough as possible, there may be times that additional documentation or clarification is requested by your auditor. It is helpful to make yourself available the day(s) of your audit to accommodate the potential requests or questions.
  • Your financial institution can make the business decision to accept Written Statements of Unauthorized Debit (WSUD) forms without a “wet signature.” You can accept forms that have been similarly authenticated. This means documents can be electronically signed or permission can even be given over the phone as long as you indicate on the form how you identified the client and that the client assents to the terms of the statement. This will help provide better client service, especially during the now socially-distance times, and your branch personnel will be happy to hear this. Keep in mind that should you decide to accept WSUDs that have been electronically signed or similarly authenticated, you will need to establish procedures that detail the requirements for an item to be similarly authenticated.
  • So much work goes into each learning event (webinars, conferences and more) that EPCOR conducts throughout the year, so take advantage of it! The EPCOR staff puts a great amount of time and effort into our learning events, preparing months ahead of time for seminars such as our Payment Systems Update and EPCOR Payments University – don’t miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of all their hard work. Our trainers work hard and even conduct practices of their presentations to ensure everything makes sense and covers the information that will be valuable to you. So, be present for the classes. Soak it in! Put down the phone, turn on the out-of-office notification and enjoy the opportunity to learn and network with your peers. Also, if you’re not an AAP, APRP or NCP, be sure to take advantage of the accreditation Prep Courses EPCOR offers each year!
  • Please remember that EPCOR is here to help you – before, during and after your service. Our mission is to provide payments expertise through education, advice and member representation. So, should your auditor identify areas within your institution that need improvement, keep in mind that our goal is to help you do that. We’re here to provide you with the education, tools and resources to prepare you for a successful audit by your regulator or examiner as well. Remember, we’re always a call (800.500.0100), email (memserve@epcor.org) or chat message (EPCOR.org) away!

The final thing I’ve learned and want to be sure to say to all members is… you’ve got this! Keep working hard and it will all be worth it!

Now’s the Time to Book Your Audit!

2020 is stressful enough – don’t let your ACH Compliance Audit add stress to your plate. Email audit@epcor.org for a free estimate or to get on our calendar today! Or, if you’re going the DIY route with your audit this year, consider registering for our Virtual Navigating the ACH Audit to walk through the steps you need to take to conduct your ACH audit with confidence and navigate potential roadblocks that might pop up along the way. And don’t forget to make sure our ACH Audit Workbook is in your DIY toolbox. Happy auditing!