In an age of rapid change, innovation and technology is everywhere and data dominates our lives. The audit must reflect this shift if it’s to stay relevant and bring key stakeholders the value they are looking for.
Audit committees, regulators, standards setters and investors have told us that they are looking for more than a statutory audit. They are looking for audits that provide greater clarity of metrics and improved assurance around the governance and culture at play in an organization.
Through our use of technology we go broader and deeper to unlock greater insight from the data that’s available – helping organizations take stock of their financial position, learn about their performance, understand where they could be doing better, and prepare for what the future may bring.
Data analytics is the key to unlocking this information. For the audit that means data analytics is providing better insights into an organization’s controls and risks, and enables the auditor to further challenge assumptions and conclusions, giving a truly independent view of the business.
Through predictive analytics, using historical performance trends and giving effect to current market events, we are better prepared to also assess possible future performance and, where appropriate, share sensitivity analysis with management and the audit committee.
The assessment of risk is a key element in any audit. But in today’s highly interconnected and volatile world, risks combine and spill over into each other. Therefore, they need to be considered together in clusters, and we need to move beyond the two-dimensional historical risk analysis of expected probability and severity. A third and then a fourth dimension must be brought to bear: speed and the risk of contagion. This is what Dynamic Risk Assessment does.
For all the importance of technology, it’s still the auditor who makes the critical decisions and offers the key analysis and insights. Technology may be important, but it is not enough on its own for a quality audit. We need multitalented people for this transformation. It is about having the right people, and developing audit methodologies that are truly sound and robust, in line with international auditing standards, and that incorporate new thinking to deliver innovations which add real value. We have a keen focus on understanding and developing the auditor of the future, knowing it will continually evolve.