As the business world looks to emerge from Covid-19, different businesses and sectors will certainly face a variety of challenges. A common thread to a majority of these challenges will be the importance of accurate business financials. Business stakeholders will be making key strategic decisions that will be influenced by their financial information. Decisions on recruitment or redundancies, growth strategies or cost saving initiatives, acquisitions or disposals all need to be made on the foundation of solid, reliable financial information. Business owners, potential investors and lenders will all require the level of certainty and reliance that the statutory audit provides.
Audit – an evolving sector & utilising technology
With the current level of reform, and indeed appetite for change from all those associated with the sector, the statutory audit will inevitably evolve going forward. Even though, audit itself has changed little over the years, there has been increasing stakeholder interest and business complexity creating an expectations challenge for the sector.
The audit opinion currently states whether financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial results and position of the business. Whilst this may have been appropriate for the shareholders of the business, there is now a much broader group of business stakeholders looking for increased granularity from the audit opinion. In order to meet these changing stakeholder requirements the scope of an audit will have to evolve.
Utilising advancement in technology to responding to the challenges of business complexity, auditors are investing more and more in tech based audit solutions. In addition to cloud solutions, the use of AI is becoming more and more apparent with software now able to work within certain risk parameters to analyse vast amounts of financial data and identify unusual transactions for the auditor to focus on.
This use of technology will inevitably change the role of the auditor, as technology deals with the more mundane or straight forward areas of the audit allowing the auditor to focus on the complex and judgemental areas.
Change in the audit sector be it from reform, market forces or responding to advancement in technology is very much a positive for the sector. An even more robust, reliable and relevant audit approach will only help serve the business environment, improve prosperity and support growth.