Emerging Technologies as an Audit Tool

Sumesh Krishna, Partner

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Technology influences every aspect of the business landscape. Companies have started to embrace emerging technologies to keep pace with the competitive corporate world. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, Cognitive Automation, Robotic process automation and Blockchain find its application across all the sectors of business.

Auditing is one such division that has been harnessing the power of these sophisticated technologies to deliver high-quality audits by increasing the efficiency and the quality of financial reporting. Audit firms are continually investing in the latest technologies to facilitate their work and add value to the client, which is bringing about “a transformational era in auditing’.

According to reports by various research firms, 80% of audit teams make use of data analytics and automation tools in some form. Because of this adoption, the quality of audit findings have increased with a reduction in cost.

Robotic process and cognitive automation

Robotic process and cognitive automation are the most trending technologies that have the potential to bring about significant changes to the business. These can be used to analyze datasets that contain millions of transactions, isolate the outliers for further examination and interpret the data to complete tasks. The technology helps in reducing errors on data processing and bring efficiency on processing and reporting.

Artificial intelligence

AI can be used to conduct analyses of structured and unstructured data. It brings order, ensures more natural extraction of value from data, helps in identifying misstatements and determining risk. Embedding AI into the audit process eliminates any chances of errors and risk on reporting and colossal value addition to the client.

Blockchain

Blockchain can be deemed as a game-changer for the auditing industry. The technology serves as an open, distributed ledger to record transactions between two parties efficiently, and this can be used as a source of verification for transactions reported in any business.

Sophisticated technologies enable auditors to perform advanced analytics, which in turn helps them to gain more in-depth insight into the functioning of businesses. Auditors must stay abreast of these technological advancements as they promise a higher level of assurance and exciting opportunities to enhance the quality of audit.

The technologies are never a replacement for auditors; what they do is empower and enable audit professionals to deliver high-quality audits, without any errors. “As powerful as these tools are, or are expected to become, they nonetheless are not substitutes for the auditor’s knowledge, judgment and exercise of professional scepticism.” But to some extend it is leading to triple win situation to the organizations.

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