The pandemic has introduced various changes to everyone’s life, that’s when-why-and-how we call it the “New Normal”. Since this new culture has replaced how we functioned to complete dedicated tasks and how now we have adapted to accomplishing them through online medium, has become an effective part of our lives.
Given new changes in the industry, the auditors are expected to offer a commitment to work out over the possible risks and advice for new emerging risk factors. Today’s Auditors are required to provide better analytics and automated financial outputs. A huge change in final report of client’s finances is noticed since the time accounting and other client activities have gone digital with the help of various software and accounting tools. Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, digital-enabled transformations, and other automated tools have increased pressure on auditors to match up to their client’s digital intellect. In this era more digitally mature outcomes are expected to be observed since the digitally savvy performances have come into existence.
The ongoing era of digitization has helped re-invent the Audit industry- its standards and expectations. By including the digital audit software into the systems, auditor who works remotely are now always connected with their teams and client at all times. These audit management software make the audit process and job of managing audit requirements easier.
Because of the latest technological advances, commendable changes are noted even in the current unprecedented times. The auditors are found familiar with new management skills, ability to adapt to changes, and are witnessed to be better at sharing audit narratives with expanded vision and knowledge of technological developments in the profession, as necessary.
Lately, it was believed that digital transformation is ‘need of the hour’ to practice Audit, but it is to be ensured by us that mere transformation to remote work is not enough, rather we need to accept the processes that underlie this transformation to achieve the following as objectives of digitized audit:
- Higher Audit quality
- More efficient audit than the ones prepared with traditional methods of the audit.
- Better business insights
As per the words of the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB), the significant changes to the management accounting systems and the way clients perform their work are a result of remote work arrangements, which in turn are an outcome of the pandemic and changes in workplace. Such consequential changes make businesses susceptible to online frauds and cyber security attacks.
As various professions are getting remote, it is perceived that the Auditors might experience data privacy issues; this means that the client’s data (which is subjected to confidentiality) is on the verge of getting handy to the auditor’s spouse, children, siblings, or anybody with whom he/she might be sharing the workplace with. To overcome such risks for trust breaches, many audit firms have come up with auditing software whose security features won’t let any other human get access to the audit reports/ financial data.
Today, all businesses (howsoever large or small) are relying on technology to keep their reputation and finances maintained; therefore, it becomes a matter of huge concern and responsibility to deliver the audit reports (with least or no errors) prepared with the involvement of advanced technology, innovations, and software.
With the increasing demand as well as the need for digital audit platform, the risks involved are also uprising at the same pace. The risks involved may range from economic to geopolitical, technological, social, and/ or some other fronts on which Chief Audit Executive and Stakeholders are keeping deeper insights to grow and adapt measures for declining the risks involved. With the change in technological advancements and risks involved, internal management too needs to be evolved and thereby, is required to innovate and transform itself to face those challenges and match with the pace of business advancements.
For Auditors, tomorrow holds monitoring of high-risk involving clients to provide appropriate settings to decrease the anticipating errors and raise client satisfaction. In such records of bookkeeping, the auditor possesses positive skepticism for any abnormalities to occur during the auditing.
To make the audit future-ready, audit firms are promoting and embracing it with data extraction, analytics, Artificial Intelligence based Audit tools and digital audit techniques to accelerate towards automation; however making them more resilient to help rank better for addressing new targets.
By continuing to invest in cognitive, machine learning, and AI techniques, companies can be provided with data-driven business insights as well as the developing changes for their client. The clients have increased their transition pace and methodology from ‘bookkeeping methods’ to ‘cloud-based computing systems’ (ERP platforms and tools.) These new technologies evolve so swiftly that the auditor would need to continually keep a check on upcoming trends for raising their knowledge and skills.
With the advancement in technology to enhance digital audit, it would help widen the function unit, so that auditors can identify frauds and judge abnormalities without any delay. Such quick responses can be expected only when the auditors are skilled enough.
We can conclude that the future of audit is immediate in terms of embraced digitization and AI for improved quality. The ongoing pandemic has helped accelerate the motto to expand vision by compelling people to come up with ideas and sources to engage stakeholders without meeting them in person. The future seems quite bright and fascinating as it gives a bold commitment to boost up the Internal Audit value and embrace changes for continuous improvements.