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The AI Revolution in Audit and Finance

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June 10, 2024

A revolution is underway in audit and finance, and its name is Artificial Intelligence (AI).  

AI isn’t just shaking things up, it’s fundamentally changing the way audit and finance professionals operate. Boosting efficiency, reducing errors, and even injecting a much-needed sense of excitement into the daily grind of ticking and bashing.  

In this article, we’ll define four major ways AI is having a huge positive impact on the traditionally static world of audit and finance.  

Three Major Ways AI is Changing Audit and Finance

Before diving into the four points, we’d like to ask you this: did you know that 90% of partners are prioritizing budget for AI technologies in the next 12 months?  

So, if you have any doubts about whether AI is going to penetrate audit and finance, there’s your answer. 90% speaks volumes about the perceived value and potential of AI in this sector.

Over the past few years, there’s been a clear shift in mindset towards embracing technology as a strategic investment rather than just a throwaway cost spared for the few innovative dreamers (AKA Doctor Emmet Browns) within a firm.  

Today, firms are transparent in their commitment to leveraging AI. Let’s find out why.

Staying Competitive

78% of audit and finance professionals say their firms are investing in AI technology to stay competitive and it’s very likely this percentage will only increase in the next few years.  

It’s clear that AI is becoming a cornerstone of success in audit finance. Leaders in audit and finance including Deloitte, Baker Tilly, and Grant Thornton, as well as smaller-sized firms including Beever and Struthers and Acconsis all leverage AI in a multitude of ways to improve their day-to-day processes and stay competitive.  

By automating routine tasks such as, data entry and reconciliation, AI enables audit and finance professionals to focus on higher-value and higher-risk tasks, providing deeper insights and strategic advice to clients.

Moreover, AI is allowing finance professionals to finally become more proactive when it comes to regulatory requirements, ensuring compliance and anticipating changes rather than merely reacting to them.

AI-powered tech also empowers audit firms to better detect anomalies and trends in financial data, enabling them to deliver more comprehensive audits. This results in improved client satisfaction, stronger client relationships, and a competitive edge in a saturated market.

Employee Retention and Satisfaction

80% of audit and finance professionals would be more inclined to stay at a company with AI initiatives in place. Are you surprised by this? Cause we’re not.  

This shows that companies dedicated to using AI in their day-to-day initiatives are not only more likely to keep their employees happy and committed but they’re also more likely to attract top talent in the first place.  

AI transforms the workplace by automating routine tasks allowing employees to focus on more interesting, high-risk areas of their roles. This not only improves job satisfaction but also the accuracy and reliability of financial data, reducing the stress and burden on employees.  

As AI takes over mundane tasks, employees gain more opportunities for professional development, learning new skills, and achieving a better work-life balance—all areas that are particularly lacking in the high-pressure environment of audit and finance.

And lastly, firms that use AI are viewed as forward-thinking and innovative which are essential qualities when attracting top talent. With audit and finance being hypercompetitive, embracing AI is not just an advantage—it's a necessity for success.

Improving Trust

This statement won’t create headlines but… Trust is vital in audit and finance. Trust ensures accurate financial information, compliance with regulations, strong client relationships, market confidence, and effective risk management.

84% of audit and finance professionals think AI will help them, not replace them. Here, 'empower' means giving them the tools to improve their skills and output using AI. As they get better at using AI, their reputation for reliability and competence grows, making others within the firm trust them more.

AI also strengthens trust within audit and finance by improving accuracy and transparency across various roles and teams. This means that everyone, from junior staff to partners, and among auditors and accountants, can trust in the reliability of financial information and consistency of methods, creating a more cohesive and trustworthy work environment.  

In a nutshell, AI reduces the need for constant cross-checking, allowing everyone to confidently rely on each other’s work. This not only creates a more positive and collaborative workplace but also reduces stress by drastically shortening the time required for every review.

AI: Here to Take Part, Not Here to Take Over

To put it simply, AI is transforming how things work in audit and finance. It's not just about working faster and making fewer mistakes; it's also about boosting team morale and trust, improving work-life balance, and attracting and retaining talent.  

Here's the kicker: if you're not jumping on the AI train, at some point very soon, you will find yourself lagging behind your competitors.

That being said, AI is here to take part, not here to take over. AI will enhance the work and role of an auditor by making data analysis and routine tasks more efficient, but it can't replicate the professional judgment and expertise that auditors bring. These human qualities remain essential and irreplaceable.

Of course, this might change if Elon Musk ever decides to invent audit CP30s... we're watching you closely Sophia.

Curious to learn more about how AI is shaping the future of audit and finance? Download DataSnipper's AI Report 2024.

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