Spotlight Interview with Graham Hall, Board Advisor and Audit Tender Consultant at Sterling Technology








Hi, how are you today? 

I’m good and delighted to have this opportunity to share some of the things I have learnt about the challenges of managing an audit tender process.

Can you please introduce yourself in case some of our readers aren’t familiar with you?

My name is Graham Hall. For the last 25 years I have worked in financial accounting and reporting for two multinational companies headquartered in Switzerland (Novartis AG and Nestle SA). In 2018 I was tasked with defining, managing, and documenting a global audit tender for Nestle. The experiences and learnings I gained on my own audit tender journey are what I would like to share with you today.

How did you get started in the industry?

For many people, including myself, an audit tender is a new experience and the need to provide a truly fair and balanced process means a very quick learning experience. I was the project leader on the Nestle process and I found the journey really fulfilling. Having learnt so much I now seek to help others as they too embark on their own audit tender journey.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Sharing the solutions to the multiple challenges of an audit tender and working with people from companies and audit firms as they face similar challenges to those, I faced in 2019.

What is a problem in your industry that people don’t suspect?

Many companies are not prepared for the challenges of an audit tender. Indeed for many the need to look outside of their current audit provider is a strange experience. The key is to build a process that will deliver a fair and balanced tender process such that no one firm (including the incumbent) has an unfair advantage. It is important to remember, each firm will invest significantly in its participation in your process, so fairness is fundamental. A key enabler of this goal is the provision of a robust, secure, and very user-friendly virtual data room to enable efficient information exchange, collaboration and an audit trail of the process and decision-making.

Why did you choose this topic for your webinar? Why should people tune in?

Companies listed on regulated markets, credit institutions and insurance undertakings (known as Public Interest Entities or PIEs), in the UK and EU are required by law to conduct a competitive audit tender process every ten years. However, given the importance of a high-quality audit, companies or groups of companies which are not PIEs may also decide that it is in their best interests to put their audit out to tender. Many companies are unprepared for the challenges of managing an audit tender, which can be an unfamiliar experience for the individuals who are responsible and accountable for the success of the process. During our webinar, I will share my learnings from managing a global audit tender in 2019/20 for one of Europe’s largest companies, covering more than 750 entities and 180 countries. I will focus on practical advice covering issues such as planning and preparation, governance, key activities and documentation, transition planning to a new auditor, and technology tools that can be used to help achieve a successful outcome.

This webinar will be essential viewing for anybody involved, or likely to be involved, in an audit tender, both from the point of view of the tendering entity but also for incumbent and challenging audit firms, as well as their professional advisors

Do you have any advice for younger people who are just getting started on their professional journey?

If you are training to be an auditor or indeed a junior member of the team, or indeed a manager who aspires to become a Partner, and through this you get an opportunity to attend presentations by the company who’s audit your firm seeks, listen, learn and be attentive (research the company, not just its numbers and footprint, but its ethos, ethics and goals, turn off your phone, ask pertinent questions, do not be shy). YOU are the future of your firm; you can be a deciding factor for the company in arriving at its final choice of audit firm.

To close off – how do you relax in your free time? 

Relax…. good question, I would like to say spending time with my grandchildren, but maybe that is not exactly relaxing. So maybe it’s more accurate to say I relax watching rugby and watching my wife manage the grandchildren. I have also written a book to share my experiences of the Nestle audit tender process and I found writing this very relaxing on my quiet evenings and weekends as I travelled the world for five months introducing the tendering audit firms to Nestle’s businesses and people in key locations.

You can register for Sterling Technology’s webinar “How to navigate an audit tender process – and survive!” here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *