The Auditor's Post-2020 Reality
When firms lack efficient internal operations, it is difficult to produce audits that deliver the high value and clear insights demanded by clients. Firms that lack the technology for an integrated, paperless audit workflow will face tremendous challenges in a future defined by cloud solutions and remote work.
Jim Boomer, CPA is the CEO of Boomer Consulting, Inc., a specialized consulting firm helping the highest performing CPA firms achieve excellence in five areas critical to firm growth and success. Jim advises clients around IT strategic planning and implementation for next-generation firms.
Recently, Jim addressed seven critical pain points in the audit process caused by problematic technology. These are summarized below, but you can read his full explanation in his white paper, Auditor’s Reality Post-2020.
7 common problems with audit workflows that drain efficiency and hurt quality
At most firms, problems within audit workflows arise from one or more of these issues:
- Ongoing integration issues: If the staff has to switch back and forth between multiple legacy audit software systems that lack integration it causes inefficiencies. Rekeying data is not a productive use of an audit professional’s time and can result in costly errors.
- Lack of automation: To produce efficient audits, staff members need to be able to reuse data across multiple workpapers or across similar jobs. Automating the way data flows to minimize manual data entry will increase the quality and profitability of each audit.
- Unreliable compliance management: Older audit systems weren’t designed for compliance with today’s complex and rapidly evolving auditing standards. With a legacy system, the firm might not have a way to control access to binders and confidential client data. Keeping up with standards such as the 45/60-day rule and locking down binders may be difficult.
- Lack of visibility: Everyone on the audit team needs to be able to determine what’s going on with the audit from a single source of truth. If the audit steps are contained in separate systems, it’s difficult for partners or managers to see the status of the engagement. Likewise, reviewers have a harder time if important information about risks and significant audit issues are located in various workpapers.
- Difficult collaboration: On‑premise systems make it difficult to share work with team members, share documents across multiple office locations, or review and provide feedback for the team while they are out of the office
- One‑size‑fits‑all audit checklists or programs: When the firm’s risk assessment and audit planning doesn’t tailor audit steps to the client, staff members may not really understand why they are performing audit procedures. This can easily lead to over- or under-auditing.
- Unmanageable data: Auditors may feel as though they don’t have the knowledge or training to perform data analytics procedures and do not know how to interpret the results of analytical procedures. Robust analytic tools can be costly and, therefore, not accessible to every auditor and every audit. Getting data in a format for analytics can also be challenging without tools for importing the correct data.
Transform your firm’s audit practice to delight clients with high-quality audits
Jim Boomer describes the Wolters Kluwer Integrated Audit Approach as a “GPS for auditors.” This audit methodology includes the following solutions:
- CCH® ProSystem fx® Engagement drives improved audit quality and increases efficiency by providing a true end‑to‑end workflow for financial statement preparation. It automates time-consuming tasks and simplifies collaboration between the audit staff and their clients.
- CCH® ProSystem fx® Knowledge Coach and CCH Axcess™ Knowledge Coach are patented, award‑winning and peer‑reviewed digital audit management solutions. Knowledge Coach helps auditors easily tie risks to audit procedures, save time with roll forward and automated updating, and employ dynamic, interactive audit diagnostics.
- TeamMate® Analytics helps auditors of all experience levels easily incorporate data analytics into the audit workflow. Auditors gain access to a Test Library of over 200 tests and ten audit areas—all of which can be customized—along with the guidance to put them to use.
Boomer Consulting professionals have seen firms use Wolters Kluwer’s transformative audit methodology to achieve great gains for both staff and clients. Real-world results include:
- Improving the second‑year realization on new client audits by rolling forward audit plans— saving several hours of planning and procedure time for each client.
- Conducting more audits than ever before in less time.
- Increasing the audit practice’s volume by 65% to 75% while maintaining the same staffing levels.
- Reducing the time spent on audits by an average of 25%.
- Eliminating wait time on new content, updating new content as soon as it is available.
Download the white paper to learn more about the five pillars of firm success, audit pain points, and how to transform your audit process with technology to deliver higher quality, more efficient audits.