Do you immediately think of auditors as innovators? Sure, you expect the team that’s conducting a financial statement audit to have strong accounting acumen, professional skepticism and industry expertise. But today’s auditor is powerfully combining their financial knowledge with newly acquired digital skills to rethink how the audit is performed. This has proven especially important during the COVID-19 crisis, as auditors across the profession seamlessly transitioned to working remotely, facilitating our ability to complete much of our audit work virtually.
This is, in large part, possible because audit firms are making investments in technology that are accelerating the pace of change for the profession. It’s what helps us create more well-rounded professionals and makes the audit experience better.
Here’s how: Automations reduce time-intensive routine tasks so people can spend more time performing analysis. Custom data visualizations bring insights to life. And quality is enhanced because manual work that may be error-prone (think about endless spreadsheet copying and pasting) is done consistently every time.
Kelsey Kitsen is an associate who built an extraction bot that improves substantive audit testing of property, plant, and equipment. Typically, this is a manual, time-consuming process for both audit and client teams. The bot Kitsen created, which was given read-only access to the client’s ERP system, handles it all automatically. A task that originally took hours and could span over days or weeks of coordination can now be accomplished in just minutes. With the time saved, Kitsen can focus on areas of testing that require more judgment or analysis.
There’s also Dan Croghan, a senior associate who helped develop an automation that streamlined and simplified the data analysis, reporting and basic testing that audit teams perform for utility clients during the course of the audit. The bot saves time for both audit teams and our clients by reducing back-and-forth data requests, spreadsheet analysis, and testing for quality and completeness.
Auditors are passionate about the challenging and rewarding work they’re doing, and they’re excited about how they’re redefining the role of the auditor in an increasingly digital world.