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Driving change in audit: what lessons can we learn?

03/07/2017

Change in the audit environment is being driven by new technologies and innovation in practices, ensuring accountants retain their relevance in an evolving world.

​The audit sector is ever-evolving, and latest developments include an increased use of technology –accountants must understand how these new tools are now driving change, and what this means for the industry overall.

Robert Dorher, global leader for quality and risk at RSM International, told Accountancy Age how the expanding use of data, for example, is helping practices to examine more in-depth information than ever before, helping auditors to retain their relevance in an era of growing technological innovation across all sectors.

Technology is considered the ‘great enabler’, helping auditors to dig deeper into the financial activity of their clients with ever more sophisticated analytics and ensuring higher-quality audit evidence is now being achieved. This ensures clients can be scrutinised more easily, helping to ensure their accounting practices are as transparent and robust as possible.

Another factor driving change in auditing is innovation by auditors themselves. Regulators are now having to assess imaginative new practices against professional standards that are unable to keep pace with such rapidly emerging, novel approaches – as much of the innovation is in the application of tools that don’t feature in existing standards, there is genuine uncertainty about how to assess and enforce compliance. 

Finally, the introduction of quality management approaches is becoming increasingly common. Here, accountants are tailoring not only their approach to audit, but also the suite of control procedures they require to continue prioritising their clients’ needs, without needing to invest unnecessarily in procedures deemed irrelevant to their business.  Aligning control standards to their clients’ industry and internal practices ensures a more focused, high-quality and cost-effective audit.

Robert Dorher concludes ‘The onus is on firms to adapt and change so that they can deploy new techniques and processes. If the industry embraces the technological changes around new ways of applying that technology, companies will be better served.’

You can find out more about how emerging technologies are transforming businesses and the professional services on which they depend, in the latest edition of HUB​ magazine.

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