Technological advances in the ways that data is captured, processed, stored and communicated continually change the ways in which we do business. In the context of auditing, data analytics concerns the process of extracting, transforming, validating and analysing large volumes of data to make judgements and form conclusions.
The way we approach auditing must change to address such change. The roles and processes of auditing, and the people working in this area will remain the same, but the way audits are conducted must change to address these new realities.
Some recently released software tools claim to be able to analyse 100% of accounting transactions rather than taking a sample. Using a mixture of artificial intelligence, statistical models and rule-based tests, the claim of 100% transaction analysis could deliver far greater assurance and allow the auditor to prioritise items requiring further investigation.
According to the ICAEW, “…accountants are well placed to work effectively with data analytics, as they combine high levels of numeracy with strong business awareness. These trends will accelerate with AI.”
With such developments accountants will be better positioned to analyse and understand client data and thereby provide enhanced added value advisory services to clients.