• Marc Staut, Shareholder, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer

3 Ways to Increase Audit Efficiency While Adding Value

Technology is transforming the practice of audit at an unprecedented pace. In fact, it’s not hard to envision audits in the future as entirely untouched by human hands. Indeed this is an exciting future to consider. While you contemplate the long-term implications, though, don’t overlook how technologies available today can help you automate many routine aspects of assurance services while adding value for your clients.

How can you make that happen? To start, it’s all about doing more with less. Specifically, by working smarter and leveraging technology, you can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on audit procedures while maintaining – or even improving – audit quality. Here are three areas to consider.

Client connection

First is client connections. Some of the most time-consuming aspects of auditing client financial statements include:

  • Requesting client documents

  • Massaging the data so it can be used in your engagement software

  • Generating audit workpapers

  • Importing client data into those workpapers

Instead, leverage technology that standardizes those workpapers and extracts client data directly from the client’s source accounting package. Ultimately, this will help you reduce the time spent on the workpaper generation process.

Data analytics

Next is data analytics. The AICPA defines audit data analytics as:

“the science and art of discovering and analyzing patterns, identifying anomalies, and extracting other useful information in data underlying or related to the subject matter of an audit through analysis, modeling and visualization for the purpose of planning or performing the audit”

Notably, data analytics is now an increasingly critical part of the audit workflow. Reason being, it allows auditors to focus on outliers and exceptions, and identify the riskiest areas of the audit.

Therefore, look for technology that helps leverage historical information to predict the future and identify the potential for material misstatements. That technology makes audits more effective, and helps you help your clients make better decisions about their business’ future.

Training and learning

Third on our list is training and learning. While your team might have the latest technology, if they don’t know how to use it then they’re not adding value. Fact is, auditors need more than just technical accounting skills. They also need knowledge of information technology, statistics, modeling, and machine learning.

Moreover, firms can’t afford to wait for university curriculums to catch up with growing skills gaps. In short, tap into existing internal, external, and sourced resources to better equip your team now, such as:

  • Internal or external data analytics specialists

  • Your firm’s IT professionals

  • Audit software that has pre-scripted tests

  • Your technology partner’s specialized training resources

It’s important to realize that smart firms aren’t waiting for the future to transform their audit practice. Smart firms are leveraging available technologies today to become more efficient and add value from a client’s perspective.

With that said, are you interested in learning more about the technologies available today that can transform your audit practice? Then download Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s white paper, Transforming Audit Today. Written by Marc Staut and L. Gary Boomer, this whitepaper will help you start moving forward today.