The Hidden Costs of an Audit

The Hidden Costs of an Audit

Have you ever considered the real cost of verifying continuing professional development (CPD) compliance through an audit? If you have not, you might be surprised to learn about the chain-reaction of expenses associated with audits that can produce quite a large price tag. These hidden costs can result from the various departments and materials that are required to participate in an audit. In response, many regulatory agencies have chosen to leverage technology and innovative solutions to minimize or eliminate the hidden costs of an audit. Some of these innovative solutions can save millions of State dollars within just a few years. Before choosing to implement a solution for CPD/CE audits, it is important to understand where the real cost of an audit comes from.


Office Supplies and Expenses:

When you think about the cost of an audit, your first thought might be office supplies such as writing instruments, stationery, printed forms, reproduction, postage, phone/fax and photocopying supplies. office suppliesThis is definitely a good place to start discussing costs since these materials are heavily used during the procedure of an audit and all following actions. These costs can quickly add up to be an astronomical figure when auditing even small quantities of the population since it requires constant physical correspondence and exchanges. In addition, any communication and request for information from other CPD/CE stakeholders can result in even higher material usage. Auditing even 10% the population can result in staggering quantities of costly paper, postage and other supplies during the entire audit workflow. Implementing electronic, automated infrastructure can eliminate costly material expenses while also simplifying workflows to produce more accurate procedures which reduces necessary interaction from stakeholders. Utilizing digital systems for all physical aspects of audits is sustainable, economical and efficient.


Staff Time:

In any business endeavor or work environment, there is always a common question. What is the best use of my time? Sometimes more importantly—What is the best use of my staff’s time? Nothing is more important, and expensive, as one’s time. Time is money.

5636798880_1fdfa47f82This is especially true when considering the traditional, archaic process of CE audits which can be frighteningly time-consuming. Most often, the man hours required for audits are what limit regulators to perform uninspiring audit percentages. It is uncommon to see any Boards & Commissions performing higher than 25% audits with most actually falling under 10%. This is with good reason, however, since auditing above those numbers would exponentially increase time requirements for staff and administrative costs due to the chain-reaction of audits.

While each State operates differently, common audit procedures entail the involvement of several personnel and departments. Audit, support and administrative staff are some of the first members to spend time on audits by initiating the project by selecting the percentage, sending letters and collecting CE data. Audit staff then needs to spend great amounts of time to sort and organize initial paperwork while continually corresponding with the individuals to get correct CE information. After this long process staff can usually involve some type of investigator who identifies why certain individuals are failing. After it has been confirmed, attorneys may be required to write up failed individuals which then must be presented to the Board. This much staff time required for audits is a massive factor in why States are limited in their audit rates.      

With this, innovative technology is being developed to alter the parameters of that limit by allowing for efficiency and time-management never before seen in history. Using technology to quickly collect data, organize information, verify compliance and streamline workflows has created a way for States to perform up to 100% audits while even saving money from previous methods.


Opportunity Costs:  

Opportunity cost can be defined as the benefits lost when pursuing a particular course of action instead of an alternative course. When discussing the costly time requirements for an audit, it is equally important to discuss what that time could achieve should it not have been consumed by those actions. This hidden cost of the audit is considered the opportunity which is lost since devoted time cannot be reallocated. Regardless which staff members perform audits, their time can be equally valuable spent on other projects, endeavors and deadlines. So, the large amount of time discussed above should be viewed as twice the expense when considering the opportunity that has been lost from inefficient processes.



Each public regulatory agency has different rules, procedures and thoughts on audits. Beyond that, different leadership has different views on the needs and importance of these audits which can vary greatly depending on the profession. Nonetheless, despite these varying opinions, it is clear that even small percentage audits have large price tags attached to them. For example, the Florida Department of Health has been able to reduce audit-related expenses by over $500,000 annually by switching to a digital CE management platform. The substantial material, time and lost opportunity costs can be seen easily when dealing with such large agencies. Fortunately, the use of emerging technologies has begun to allow State CE audits to be another function completely transformed as technology has already done with industries like banking, insurance and travel.   

For more information on how your organization can save time and cut costs, contact Shane Hall, Strategy/Business Development Manager by phone 1-904-726-4247 or by email

Reduce CE audit costs and increase compliance rates with CE Broker for Boards


In 2003 CE Broker launched its electronic continuing education tracking system to meet the needs of a Florida Department of Health. This tracking system has since helped the Department to increase CE/CME compliance while greatly reducing audit-related expenses. After a decade of success, CE Broker began identifying the need for better compliance management and auditing software throughout the regulatory community. Boards, commissions and agencies across the country are experiencing the same CE management struggles experienced by Florida boards before they partnered with CE Broker. These CE struggles are regardless of the type of profession they regulate. Out of that visible need, CE Broker for Boards was established to begin offering our unique, public-private partnership found in Florida to all professional licensing regulators, free of cost.

What is a continuing education tracking system?

Whether your organization requires mandatory continuing education, continuing competency or continuing professional development, a tracking system and its purpose remains the same. A comprehensive tracking system is designed to streamline all compliance processes into an easy, electronic workflow within a centralized database.

How does it help?

For licensed professionals, managing continuing education is about as tedious and time consuming as managing their taxes. Just like tax management, CE management is a necessary component of compliance. The difference though is that the use of comprehensive technology is much less common within licensee compliance. A continuing education tracking system like CE Broker can help bridge that gap, and transform archaic methods of compliance to user-friendly, electronic workflows. Below are the top three pain points for which we’ve seen a CE tracking system provide solutions. 

  1. High manual hours & cost inefficiency – “Time is money,” says the old adage. This remains to be true and can be easily observed within compliance audits where a lack of technology can cause seemingly simple tasks to absorb massive amounts of time. Many old processes are outdated and cause for unnecessary expenses, all while producing lackluster audit rates. Many boards consider themselves lucky if they have the available resources (time, budget, etc.) to audit an uninspiring 3% of their population.

In traditional CE audits, board staff are required to spend countless hours preparing and mailing audit letters to their audited population. When the flood of audit paperwork starts to appear at the board, the staff must then meticulously sort and organize that mountain of paperwork into something manageable. Many times the CE documents that licensees submit are either unacceptable or represent an incomplete CE portfolio which is not even realized until late in the auditing process.

After what seems an eternity, and ALL information has been gathered and sorted, board staff can finally verify which licensees are in compliance. After the battlefield of incoming paper work is over and the dust is settled, the work is still not done. Many times Attorney’s and enforcement need to spend huge amounts of time to prepare and process failed files which only adds onto the large time sink of traditional audits.

The Florida Department of Health has saved an estimated $515,000 annually from using CE Broker’s no-cost tracking system. Staff hours, postage, fax/phone expenses, printing, office supplies, enforcement and compliance monitoring are just some of the estimated values of that large savings. With CE Broker, staff can turn audits from messy, cluttered paperwork into quick, accurate verifications of compliance. All expenses associated with auditing can be eliminated by routing communication, uploading documentation, auditing and enforcement through the tracking system.

  1. Decentralized data & unclear workflows – It is common for organizations to struggle with decentralized data and unclear workflows. Regulators experience these issues in a similar way. With manual audit methods, board staff do not have any formalized tracking of data for licensee CE status, educational provider applications or reactivating licenses. Data can be in numerous places without an easy or clear way for staff to retrieve it. Without a comprehensive system to handle all compliance exchanges, there will always be room for mistakes and delays to happen.

In addition to decentralized data, it is common for functions of the board to route to many different staff members. For instance, educational provider applications and approvals can exchange two or three hands before having the correct approval. Mistakes and errors are bound to happen with this kind of unclear workflow.

Electronic CE tracking systems are not just cost efficient and time savers, they are also an invaluable tool to streamline workflows for all compliance processes and bring staff together into a single, centralized database. Helping to clearly lay out approval processes, verifications and communication with a few points and clicks of the mouse, CE Broker has helped regulators clarify workflows and centralize data for over 12 years.

  1. Licensee Procrastination- It’s not a surprise why much of the licensee population is unenthusiastic about continuing education or compliance. Despite offering numerous resources, licensing authorities find that much of their licensee population is either misinformed of CE requirements and/or grossly confused on the topic of CE in general. It’s not uncommon for these licensees to procrastinate until the last minute to do their continuing education, and often times do not verify what CE is required/approved. In fact, many completely disregard CE until they are within last months of license expiration. During those months, board phone lines are ringing off the hook with all different types of compliance questions. 

Licensed professionals are driven to learn through both professional experience and continuing education. Stressing about CE requirements for renewal shouldn’t be part of their job. A tracking system like CE Broker empowers licensees to master their compliance and become pros at managing it. The system can lift the burden off of the licensee, and give them the tools that convert data into a clear list of what they’ve done, what they need, and when it’s required all year round. If they have any compliance questions, they can always reach CE Broker’s support center where they can speak with a CE expert which helps to keep them informed. Offering a fully-hosted CE tracking system isn’t just for board staff, but to empower licensed professionals with the absolute best web & mobile apps available.

CE Broker is the full package for streamlining your continuing education process, from beginning to end. We leave no stone unturned and ensure that everyone is on the same page for what is expected in regards to licensure and continuing education requirements. Our experience in Florida as the official CE management tool over the past 12 years has really helped us gain confidence as experts in the field. If you want to cut costs associated with CE audits, increase compliance of your licensees and improve communications across the board; CE Broker is the answer!