How Will Digital Innovation Shape The Future Of Audit?

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Written by Suda Ratnam

How Will Digital Innovation Shape The Future Of Audit?

How Will Digital Innovation Shape The Future Of Audit?

Nothing stays the same in life. This is the same for business. Change is the only true constant. From mitigating financial risks to dealing with business disruptions due to COVID -19 are all driven by emerging technologies. The accounting and audit profession is no different to any other business.  

Traditionally audit has a reputation for detailed data crunching and the use of Excel like oxygen. Auditors were always perceived as not being at the forefront of cutting-edge technology or even embracing new innovative technology. However, in the last 3 or 4 years, the industry has moved with the times and turned on its head. With technology quickly evolving and disruptions due to COVID and potentially the effect of the recent events in Ukraine, the industry will see more changes. 

Medium and smaller audit firms are still behind on some of the innovative technologies used by the accountancy firms. This is also changing. The cloud technology has reduced or in some cases removed the need for sight visits by the auditors. With the cloud technology data is accessible 24/7 from anywhere. The data is also “live”. No need for auditors to wait for the client to send the latest current management accounts, customer balances or supplier balances. Auditors can obtain this information instantly. 

“Know your data” is a commonly used term these days, not just in the audit world. With the introduction of automation gone is the data entry. Industry no longer hires auditors with skillsets for data entry. Auditors are now seen as providing value added service rather than pure compliance. Skills sets required to work in the industry has changed and new trainees are expected to embrace skills required to work within the new digital world. Auditors now have a collection of technical knowledge, skills, and abilities, combined with interpersonal behaviours and qualities. Furthermore, auditors have become trusted business advisors and subject-matter experts, often specialising in certain sectors. They can now work with different apps that their clients use and specialise in them.

The use of the traditional Excel spreadsheet also had a make over with the introduction of power queries. It is no longer considered difficult to create a table, pivot tables and graphs on Excel. Auditors can create Power BI reports on Excel, unlike in the past this was could only be done through an app. These are tools that should help auditors to crunch the data. Analytical procedures have become a lot easier in the last 5 or so years.  Auditors no longer need to send an insane amount of money to buy Software that is powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence). Most business in the SME market use off the shelf accounting software with add on app to suite their business needs. Vast majority of the of SME’s use Sage, Xero, QBO etc with add on apps. Auditing of these SME’s requires knowledge of cloud technology and add on apps they use. App providers have made obtaining information much easier and more understandable to the end user. This means business owners can interpret or provide the data auditors require without spending time manually gathering. 

Technological advancement should help not only the auditors but also the business owners. As mentioned earlier, auditors spending less time at client premises will free up time for key individuals at the business which in turn should free up their time to work on the day to day running of the business. Technology will also help auditors to highlight key performance indicators to business owners if they are not already making use of this. Digital innovation has made obtaining information for both auditors and businesses a whole lot easier. 

If you want to discuss this further feel free to email me at or click here to get in touch. 

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