Lane Gorman Trubitt, LLC (LGT) is a full-service accounting, tax, and assurance firm based in Dallas, TX, and one of the largest independent professional accounting and advisory firms in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area.
Kevin Warneke, partner and head of LGT’s Accounting and Consulting Services department, has been with LGT for more than 18 years and has audited clients with revenue ranging from less than $1 million to more than $700 million. Warneke notes that the major niches LGT serves are not-for-profit, auto dealerships, construction, manufacturing and distribution, healthcare, and real estate.
Megan Barron, an assurance services administrator, has worked with LGT for more than eight years and was responsible for managing all audit confirmations through Confirmation from 2015 – 2018.
By making Barron the point person for all confirmations, and for the Confirmation platform, LGT has been able to centralize all confirmations and reduce time spent on confirmations down to one hour per week during regular seasons, and around two hours per week during busy season. Even as Barron started the process of sharing this responsibility with another team member, she found it simple to teach her colleague all she needs to know. “There have been zero issues — the platform is very straightforward and easy to use,” she noted.
“We’ve been happy to have one person managing the process. This way our auditors know the person to turn to if they have needs or questions related to confirmations,” Barron continued. Warneke adds, “We also enjoy having a dedicated point of contact for the firm, and someone who can stay knowledgeable about all updates to the product or modifications to the platform.”
Barron provides firm-wide administrative support, so managing Confirmation was only part of her responsibility. Yet it’s something she was able to add easily to her regular workload while freeing up auditors and partners to do more client-facing work.
LGT also currently uses Confirmation even for out-of-network bank confirmations — a task many firms still rely on paper to complete. For out-of-network confirmations, LGT values the ability to continue using the electronic signature feature and to keep all confirmations in one place. We asked Barron what she would say to a firm still using paper for out-of-network confirmations: “Using Confirmation is the easiest way to do it. Setting everything up in the system makes it easier to track whether you’ve received confirmations or not.” Barron also said that speaking with a real person every time she’s had to contact support for help has been refreshing, and that any issues are always resolved promptly.
Warneke spoke about the importance of technology within LGT, and the firm-wide growth that’s happened as a result of openly adopting technology. “We now have a pretty sizeable audit group; audits bring in about 40 percent of our revenue. Since I’ve been here, the audit department has more than doubled. We can do just about all the different types of audit engagements possible — and do them simultaneously. That wasn’t possible when we were using paper, manuals, and folders. Technology has definitely been key to our growth,” Warneke said.
When it comes to security, third-party involvement is always a plus. According to Warneke, “Everything is so protected that you’re never worried about manipulation by your client or someone else involved in the process. I think that’s why Confirmation is so popular — the third party confirmation. It’s always a better way to get assurance on anything. And everything comes to us directly.”
Since using Confirmation and having a centralized point of contact for firm-wide confirmations in place, LGT saw an annual percentage growth rate of more than 50 percent from 2016 to 2019 for their total number of confirmations processed annually
When we asked Warneke what he believes is next in terms of how technology might impact the industry, he predicts that “AI-driven products that allow access to data in real-time via a cloud-based system is where things are going. More of an ongoing audit mentality seems to be in the works. For us at LGT, it’s a matter of scaling that for the types of clients we have and seeing what that looks like.”
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