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Reimagining Auditing in a Wired World

Audit-quality-word-cloudHave you ever wondered what a day in the life of an auditor will look like in the near future, and how it will be different from today’s practice? Here is a glimpse…

You enter the audit room at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning as the external audit partner of XYZ Enterprises, Inc. After settling in, you sign into AART, the audit firm’s Automated Audit, Reporting and Tracking system that was developed to leverage the widespread availability of information on a 24/7 basis. AART’s technology monitors XYZ Enterprises’ controls, transactions and account balances continuously.  As you review the dashboard you notice that all of your audit status indicators are green, except for one.  You also notice that you have been copied on a message that AART sent to your controls team notifying them of a modification to a key control parameter in the centralized enterprise resource planning system.  You begin looking into the situation.      

It is fascinating to think that someday soon the above scenario will be the reality for audit teams. The ability to start your day with instant access to business-critical information and to monitor this information on an ongoing basis may seem far-fetched now, but just imagine the possibilities. What does the future hold for the audit?  How will the technological advances of tomorrow impact and evolve the audit in the coming years?  These questions and more are explored in a new whitepaper developed by the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee’s Emerging Assurance Technologies Task Force as part of a whitepaper series on Continuous Assurance and Continuous Control Monitoring. “Reimagining Auditing in a Wired World” offers a window into what the future audit might entail by examining the following areas:

  • Technology Enablers – From smartphones to tablets, auditors have been embracing and utilizing technology in many ways, but little has been done to consider how auditing might be transformed by it. This paper discusses some of the IT enablers available today and their potential for supporting the audit.
  • Audit Opportunities – What are some of the opportunities that the technology enablers can provide, and what are the implications of using them? Audit data analysis, big data, continuous assurance and continuous control monitoring, and fraud detection are just some of these opportunities.
  • Re-engineering the Audit Process – Included in the paper is a prime example of how some technological processes have already begun to be implemented into the current audit process. 
  • Making it Happen – How can the profession and CPAs’ clients and organizations benefit sooner by accelerating the adoption of newer and better technology?

Are you ready to move forward and take the leap toward a technologically-enabled audit? Learn more about what the AICPA is doing to maintain audit excellence and visit the Enhancing Audit Quality initiative website at aicpa.org/auditquality.

Dorothy McQuilken, Manager – Business Reporting, Assurance and Advisory Services, American Institute of CPAs. Dorothy is the lead staff liaison to the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee’s Emerging Assurance Technology Task Force and Risk Assurance and Advisory Services Task Force. 


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