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Audit inventory-checks are not just about counting. They will get you to places you normally have no chance of seeing

Inventory-checks. For auditors, they are one of the major tasks of their work. Does that not sound very engaging? Well, it depends on the point of view. Have you ever visited an operating theatre without undergoing surgery? Have you ever seen ink-stained banknotes? Auditors have. In their work, they visit places that ordinary "mortals" do not even dream of. Read about non-traditional inventories that have brought our auditors unforgettable experiences.

Where did the inventory-check take place? In a company occupied with biomedical technologies that offers equipment for diagnostics, treatment and therapeutic support in the areas of cardiac rhythm management, electrophysiology and vascular intervention.

“The inventory as such was carried out in the usual way. Prior to the inventory, I received an inventory register from which I selected samples for physical inspection. The first part took place in the office and in the warehouse. In the latter, it got more interesting. A part of the warehouse is located in hospitals, right in hospital theatres. In my case, it was a warehouse at the cardiovascular surgery clinic located directly in one of the operating theatres.

Access to these places is strictly controlled to prevent any contamination. Therefore, I had to wear a makeshift medical suit, which consisted of a coverall (except the face) and head and shoe covers.

During the inventory, I checked the amount of the above-mentioned products. At one point, there was an interesting moment when one of the products was found to deviate from the state in the register. Fortunately, everything was explained immediately. The deviation was caused by a surgery in the respective theatre that preceded my visit. I subsequently received serial numbers of the stimulation electrodes used during the surgery from the doctors, noting that they would no longer show me the products physically, as they could not ‘reopen’ the patient.”

Where did the inventory-check take place? In a security agency that deals with services related to transport, processing, servicing and safe holding of cash and valuables and which operates the customer’s branches, ATMs or other facilities, where it takes care of the delivery of cash and its possible collection or storage.

“The inventory-check took place on New Year’s Eve, when cash from clients was gathered to the company’s headquarters. Due to the fact that the subject of the inventory-check was a large amount of money, the check was accompanied by strict security measures. Already a month before the check, I had to register with the company’s management using a form and prove identity with my identity card. On the day of the inventory, it was necessary to arrive well in advance so that I could get through the entire security process. This included the following steps: on-site ID verification, camera check, remote permission prior to the entry to the counting room, and finally permission to enter the room, as the counting room’s door only opens from the inside.

The inventory-check consisted of counting banknotes and coins together with the client. Automatic counters are used for banknotes, while coins are divided in packages, which are then counted. The inventory-check is time consuming because one has to wait for all cash to be collected from the clients.

From this check, I also took an experience I will likely never forget. As the company’s employees tried to open a briefcase with the money for us to count, the suitcase exploded and coloured the banknotes inside. It was a device error, which was subsequently resolved with the case manufacturer. A similar event has not occurred in the Czech Republic in the last 10 years. The money was severely damaged, some even “burnt”, and it was not easy to identify. This money was then carefully recorded and returned to the Czech National Bank, where new money was printed for a fee.”

Where did the inventory-check take place? At a global supplier of office solutions and technologies, especially in the field of printers, audio-visual systems and office software and applications.

“At the time of the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, we faced the question of how to take an inventory-check while complying with safety measures. Thanks to the possibilities offered by modern technologies, the answer was obvious – we agreed with the client on a remote inventory-check. It was our first ever online inventory-check.

The check itself was preceded a day before by a seminar with the client, where we tested the connection, image and sound quality and other parameters. On the day of the inventory-check, the devices were ready and we could start. Due to the fact that during the spring lockdown, our offices also closed, our audit team was not even together during the inventory, but everybody was sitting at their computer at home. Because we carry out audits of both Czech and Slovak entities, the check took place at the same time in Zlín and Bratislava, and we could thus be online for both of them. Everything worked as in normal mode, but with the difference that the client streamed the inventory-check live, so we were able to watch the whole process and at the same time ask employees about everything that interested us. The client even went through the entire warehouse with us to provide a truly comprehensive overview. Even an ordinary inventory-check can be managed remotely, which was also appreciated by the client, who was very happy that we are able to handle even such unexpected complications.”

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