Technology adds speed and quality to audit
Advances in technology increase the amount of information available to auditors, restructure teams, shape companies, and even change the premises on which analyzes are made and audit opinions are issued.
Robotic Process Automation, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence make it easy to identify complex patterns and anomalies in massive amounts of data at unprecedented speed. These technologies increase audit quality and reduce errors.
As technology emerges as a decisive component of the audit process, it is necessary to know some of the emerging trends that mark this field.
Freedom from repetitive activities
Humans will not be replaced by robots, they will just have more interesting tasks to do. Certain processes will be automated and will give auditors more time for interpretation and analysis.
Technology thus becomes a “colleague” that helps the auditor reach well-founded conclusions and will free him from the drudgery of repetitive activities. We are not at this stage yet, the alignment of related regulations is slow, but technological developments are moving in this direction.
Hybridization of expertise
The different, more analytical and technology-enabled nature of auditing means that auditors need new skills and forms of expertise. This means that it is necessary for them to become more and more tech savvy.
But the hybridization of expertise does not happen at the individual level, but at the organizational level. In this regard, there is a huge growth of data analysis teams in audit and professional services firms, populated by a mix of data scientists, accountants and those who are fluent, or at least functional, in both professions.
These teams, which can provide support to auditors, tax specialists and corporate finance experts, among others, bring the greatest potential for growth in the coming years within professional services firms.
The transformation of audit firms
Clearly, auditing is changing, and these accelerating changes will continue for some time as firms and regulators continue to grapple with the fourth industrial revolution.
In this context, the success of the digital transformation of audit firms and the evolution of their service offerings depends on two key elements.
- First, firms need to invest in data security to assure their customers that they have the ability to manage the issues involved and to build trust for data transfer.
- Second, they must implement policies that include a culture of innovation at every level of the profession.
In addition, audit firms must deal with legislative and regulatory issues that may affect them. Indeed, while new technologies evolve and enable comprehensive data analysis, current data transfer legislation and security and privacy rules as well as auditing standards need to be updated as digital businesses change fast.
Several audit standards have to evolve by integrating new technologies, mainly all the rules related to the approach to risk, but also the rules on how auditors exercise their profession with independence and respecting professional ethics in this new environment.
Alina Făniță este CEO și Partener al PKF Finconta. A lucrat cu companii multinaționale sau firme antreprenoriale din domenii diverse de activitate, pentru a le oferi servicii de audit financiar, due diligence, restructurări de grupuri, audit intern și alte servicii conexe activității de control intern. Este membră a celor mai prestigioase asociații profesionale din domeniu: ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), CECCAR (Corpul Experților Contabili și Contabililior Autorizați din România), CAFR (Camera Auditorilor Financiari) și IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors). A absolvit EMBA Asebuss la Kennesaw State University, a fost trainer pentru cursuri IFRS și este invitată ca expert la numeroase conferințe de business. email@example.com