With innovations in technology, a focus on talent retention, and challenges around COVID-19, firms have more reasons than ever to shift their focus to remote auditing.
In his blog, Remote Auditing – What can’t you audit remotely?, Mark Edmondson, President and CEO of Inflo, shares his findings on successfully transitioning to remote audit, based on insights from his years in accounting and technology.
A smooth transition into remote auditing
In a time where most firms are now forced to perform their audits remote, Edmondson reached out to customers to discuss their transition to auditing outside of the office.
He found that investing in an infrastructure that allows employees to work outside of an office is crucial to a seamless transition.
“Without exception, every firm has been surprised by how their teams and clients have embraced the challenge,” notes Edmondson. “All of them cited relief that investments in technology and diligent disaster recovery planning had been in place.”
Leveraging technology for audit success while remote
In Edmondson’s findings with clients, he identified five focus areas where audit teams are leveraging technology to maintain effective delivery of audit services while remote:
- Client collaboration. Regardless of where we perform audits, we need to receive the correct information from our clients to perform the job effectively. Cloud technology allows for transparency and project management functionality.
- Exploratory analytics. With technology, we can better analyze and visualize client data. This allows auditors to easily answer questions and obtain breakdowns. From this analysis, your firm can provide clients more strategic insights and advice based on strong data.
- Sampling automation. Audit technology allows you to run sample selections across balance sheet areas or transaction classes and seamlessly submit the selected item to clients for support or approval. Furthermore, cloud technology allows this process to be completed in “real-time”, so you always have the most up-to-date information regardless of where you are working.
- Management override of control. Firms are utilizing remote technology to instantly identify high risks Avoid risk of fraud or error efficiently and from anywhere.
- Client reporting. Showing the value of your audit service is even more important when your service is being performed remotely. The right technology allows you to provide insightful outputs and reports. Also, you provide a peace of mind to your clients by ensuring them you are using the most competitive tools and consultation services in audit technology.
With the right technology, why not implement remote auditing?
Given the current environment, we must evolve to working within a new normal. Cloud technology solutions have allowed us to not only work autonomously, but also remain connected and engaged with our staff and clients. Edmondson found that most firms believe they won’t need as much in-office time due to the innovations in technology.
“Firms are now confident of performing audits remotely and clients are seeing this approach work,” says Edmondson. “So, the question then becomes what can’t be audited remotely?”
One firm that found success through remote auditing is MN Blum LLC.
“Technology and change can be a little scary for all of us — but it just makes it more convenient for the clients,” notes Abba Blum, Vice President. And with reliable cloud software, MN Blum can service clients from anywhere, 24/7, seven days a week.
David Radke, President of Williams & Company P.C., describes how using technology as a tool for client collaboration enables a company to flourish: “We’re a hard-working group that uses technology to its fullest so we can access information from our homes, at client offices, or where ever we need to be.”
While the world may be shifting and changing, auditors can move forward confidently if they take advantage and leverage the proper tools.
“Elements of the crazy world we currently live in will be hard to unwind,” adds Edmondson. “Remote auditing might become one of those aspects which becomes far more business as usual.”