SAS 70 audits today are being conducted by CPA firms large and small, big and tall. Though they vary greatly in size, complexity and audit skills, what seems to be the industry standard is a “fixed fee” for the audit. Fixed in meaning that all the fees for the engagement are wrapped and bundled into one price. This “fixed fee” also includes any out of pocket travel and miscellaneous expenses that the CPA firm would incur for doing the audit.
Buyer beware, as not all “fixed fees” are the same. Some “fixed fee” have clauses that say the “fixed fee” is only for the engagement itself and does not include travel or any other expenses you may incur. Additionally, some fixed fees may include the travel and out of pocket expenses may also bill you for preparing reports, after audit consulting fees, etc.
In short, read the fine print and make sure the “fixed fee” really is fixed. Another point, make sure the fixed fee gradually goes down after year one. Why? Because the CPA firm conducting the audit should have a good working knowledge of your company, thus fees should be marginally reduced for subsequent years (5 to 10 percent). However, if your scope changes, then expect the fees to go up.
To learn more about SAS 70 audits, visit the official SAS 70 Resource Guide.