There will be times during an audit when you'll see so much documentation that it will seem overwhelming. There's a fine line between too much information and not enough. You don't want to give external auditors too much information that will prompt them to ask more questions, but you want to have enough documentation to avoid them asking for more.
The fine line that auditors walk is tough to determine sometimes, so when you think you have too much documentation, you should ask one question about every piece of paper you get. 'How do I know this is correct according to company policy?' If you're not sure about the document you're reviewing, then you need one more layer.
"I was working for a client that gave us every piece of documentation they had. The issue with that was that they gave us forms from prior years. It was bogging us down because they were only being audited for the current year. It took forever to wade through and pull out what was actually useful."
"I've never worked an audit professionally, but in college I had an auditing class where my teacher did something similar. She told us for our final we'd be performing an audit for one quarter of the year. She gave us two years of documentation in no particular order to show that sometimes companies just dump stuff on you without organizing it. We had to sift through everything and find every single document that pertained to the Q3 of the year we were looking for. It took some time, but being highly organized, I was able to handle it and got an A on the project."
"Yes, several times. I think the worst was when a company had just gone public and I was brought in to help them organize and prepare for their first audit. I saw that they did everything on paper documentation and hadn't saved anything electronically. I sat in a conference room with boxes and boxes of paperwork with a scanner and computer. I organized all the documentation in date order, scanned everything, and then organized it into the proper areas. I created a documentation process for them and helped them set up the controls necessary to keep the documentation on hand and electronically available to pass the audit."