COVID-19 pulled the rug out from under almost every company, and a manufacturer critical to the U.S. supply chain was no exception. Only days into the crisis, the company had to urgently finish preparing their audited financial statements, but its employees were sequestered at home and unable to easily pull the data its outside auditors at Grant Thornton required.
Grant Thornton had the answer: Gather large swaths of data that it could then cull for the purpose of the audit. This meant working virtually with the client’s finance and IT teams to obtain raw data that Grant Thornton could feed into its unique analytic and automation technologies. The result was a remote audit that used data automation to prepare workpapers and analyze company transactions.
Grant Thornton used technology to leapfrog COVID-19 obstacles – gathering evidence quickly and speeding the preparation of audit schedules. Not only did this reduce the client’s audit-preparation burden, but it created an opportunity to “reset” for improved audit quality. In turn, this freed company personnel to focus on other matters, like COVID-19 operational changes.
Moreover, both Grant Thornton and the client found that their dialogs and discussions were more interactive and engaging as a result. By using video technology, for example, discussions were more frequent and more collaborative, which created clarity around audit requirements. In fact, a shared concern that suddenly home-bound professionals may not be able to communicate well led to more and better communications than normal!
Grant Thornton expects these changes to take root broadly once the pandemic has slowed. And this could amount to exponential growth in audit automation, while also elevating audit quality, providing insights and creating efficiencies. In the end, it will mean clients can better focus on their business operations.