November 20, 2018
By: Panos Kakoullis Brand Contributor
Businesses today operate in a dynamic, fast-moving, digitally enabled, and fiercely competitive global economy. To respond, organizations must constantly adapt – and so must their auditors, by incorporating innovative technologies to continuously address and identify emerging risks in markets characterized by perpetual transition.
Ground breaking technologies are significantly enhancing audit quality by arming auditors with innovative tools to solve big problems— such as how to acquire robust and complete data in a repeatable fashion. Technology is enabling auditors to process, organize, and evaluate data at a faster pace than ever before. These new capabilities are simultaneously reducing the administrative burden of sharing information, which frees up auditors’ time to interpret the data and deliver deeper insights in a way we could not ever have envisioned just five years ago.
A continued focus on the investment in automation, analytics, and the cloud are three key priorities as the profession continues to harness the power of technology to advance audit quality and provide an environment that supports investor confidence in global capital markets.
Automation and analytics are transforming the audit as we know it
The emergence of new automated and diagnostic tools, including artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, are proving invaluable to the audit process, companies and the capital markets at large.
These technologies are having a huge impact on the speed and efficiency of the audit process—information that would have taken weeks or months in the past to gather and analyze can now be processed in just minutes or hours. Automation is streamlining audit procedures such as physical inventory observations and asset confirmations – tasks that were historically manually intensive and time consuming. Integrating transformational technologies including experimental web-based robotic process automation (RPA) can further drive efficiencies in standard audit processes.
Similarly, innovations such as our award-winning Cortex data platform, which securely and seamlessly extracts, aggregates, organizes, and analyzes huge datasets, can generate meaningful and valuable insights by implementing advanced, repeatable and scalable analytics.
The ability to rapidly analyze huge volumes of complex data at a rate that was once unthinkable is allowing auditors to streamline processes and enhance quality. Auditors can now see a more complete picture and swiftly identify unusual transactions or latent patterns, better informing risk assessment procedures. Technology is transforming the audit experience in its ability to identify risks and develop audit procedures that are responsive. Early identification of risks is critical to the audit − and with new digital tools, the auditor is able to quickly examine a wide range of publicly available financial data to uncover potential risks.
Seamless in-flight monitoring and collaboration through the cloud
Beyond automation, cloud technology is also driving the revolution of the audit. By embedding monitoring tools into the audit process and employing cloud technology as a secure digital portal for information sharing, auditors can better monitor audit progress from the center and improve communication and precision of data sharing with their clients. This creates greater transparency and enables auditors and clients to proactively identify and address potential issues.
In addition, the cloud accelerates the audit process by offering the auditor instant access to resources anywhere around the world. Continued investment in the cloud is critical to moving the profession forward.
Auditors must be ready to evolve, too
This rapid evolution and implementation of the automated, real-time audit does not only reimagine the profession as we know it, but it also drives a need for a new – perhaps even different – auditor of the future.
As we integrate technology more deeply into our environment, the skills we seek from graduate recruits and lateral hires will continually evolve. Auditing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution requires the ongoing development of skills and investment and adoption of state-of-the-art tools, which further enhance the experience for both the auditor and the client to take us in to the future.
With quality and efficiency at the foundation of our approach, we can continuously raise the standards of the audit and deliver greater value – but only by remaining adaptive and agile to the opportunities technology offers.