Information technology has had a significant impact on auditing by enabling businesses to develop and use computerized systems to store and record financial transactions. Through significant improvements and advancements, information technology is quickly and profoundly transforming the auditing industry and profession.
While new technology is being introduced at an unprecedented speed, there are several areas that are helping the shift to auditing and accounting automation while creating new ways to perform an audit. Here are some examples of how information technology is transforming the accounting and auditing industry:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)—Artificial intelligence, cognitive services, and robotics are helping to automate complex and repetitive tasks and processes. AI provides extreme accuracy and can help reduce operating costs and increase efficiency. This type of emerging technology supports the transitional role of today's auditor from process-centered practitioner to a critical strategic partner. AI will not replace auditors, but auditors using AI will replace those not using AI.
- Cloud—Cloud-based computing, such as Amazon Web Services, (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are a type of Internet-based computing that provides shared processing resources and data to computer devices on demand. This enables auditors to perform auditing and testing tasks from any location as well as the ability to deliver working papers, information and reports through the cloud. Cloud-based computing opens up a new way for auditors to work with their clients. Consequently, auditors can spend more time engaging with clients on key business issues rather than mundane processes.
- Audit Software—Audit software has come a long way since its early stages. Today’s programs provide a very high degree of accuracy and reduce margins of error. New programs also help streamline audits by making them more efficient and effective. Both businesses and auditors are embracing new audit software technology to help avoid costly mistakes and prevent issues with stakeholders.
- Mobile Applications and Mobile Accounting—The proliferation of mobile devices means that people have access to almost unlimited information and business data. Auditors and accountants are taking advantage of mobile device connectivity to help bridge the gaps between their firms and their clients. New mobile apps help professional service firms manage their business while on the move by performing internal functions such as submitting timesheets, sending invoices, adding receipts or creating expense claims from smartphones or tablets.
- Social Media—Social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is a critical tool that firms are using on a regular basis to engage with their current and potential clients while simultaneously expanding their brand reach. Many professional service firms understand the importance of implementing traditional marketing into their overall business development plans, but many firms may not realize the power of integrating social media marketing into their long-term marketing strategies.
The rapidly evolving relationship between auditing and information technology means auditors and accountants now need to understand how technology impacts their business, and how it can be used to improve operational efficiency, achieve regulatory compliance, support financial reporting, guide management decisions and ultimately increase revenues.