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Audit Tool Spray: How to Win From Tool Fatigue

November 23, 2022

Auditors love tools and technology. On average, audit firms have more than 30-50 audit tools in place. A wide variety of innovative tools came to light to make Auditors’ lives easier and enable them to dedicate the necessary time to their clients, instead of doing the same manual tasks repeatedly. However, with new opportunities come new challenges. The truth is that very few firms have effectively implemented the tools they bought or built.

🔎 What’s the issue?

Next to ready-made audit tools in the market, audit firms also develop their own audit solutions from scratch. It's the traditional build vs buy trade-off. Today, many firms have tools and procedures in place for different purposes, for example; to automate Test of Detail procedures with intelligent document matching. Often, the issue isn’t just the overwhelming number of tools, it’s also that they’re too complex to use and master, especially the solutions that firms built themselves. In addition to lacking user-friendly interfaces and personalized experiences. No wonder it feels overwhelming; the struggle is real.

🚨 Tool Fatigue Alert

This immense amount and complexity of tools lead to audit tool fatigue; meaning that adopting and learning these new tools is more exhausting than productive in most cases. If you find yourself or your team members overwhelmed by an endless list of tools, in a continuous effort to get the job done, spending more time measuring progress instead of actually making it, you’ve probably got a problem with tool fatigue. Consequently, this leads to overall low adoption rates.

Realistically speaking, adopting a new tool can be a waste of resources if it’s not implemented correctly in the day-to-day operations and incorporated into the firm’s processes, or when auditors simply haven't mastered the right skills and mindset to work with these tools. You don’t want to be left with an enormous, and enormously frustrating, time sink.

💡 So now, how to stand out and make it work?

Getting out of the status quo is the first step to improving, learning, and growing. Here are some considerations to keep in mind to successfully adopt a new tool:

1. Find tools that make your life easier

First things first; time to start casting off dead weight and pick a few efficient tools that auditors would trust and find easy to use. With a dynamic and user-friendly tool that offers everything you need in one place, you can save time and be more able to focus on high-risk areas. Pick a tool that is easy to learn, use, and implement.

2. Spend time on research & use cases

Work smarter by searching for your audit use cases and unlock your firm’s growth opportunities. Before you invest in a new tool, it is always recommended to assess your firm’s and team’s needs and do sufficient research on use cases and problems this tool would solve. Read customer stories and product reviews, and sign up for product demos. You know; delivering real value matters.

3. Prepare for long-term success

Once your new tool is up and running, you want to make sure how to get -and keep getting- the most out of it. It is no longer just about “installing and onboarding best practices”, it makes a huge difference if continuous support, training, and improved performance are offered by your tool’s supplier. This, as a result, gives you and your team more time to focus on your core product and optimize your clients' experience.

Luckily for everyone, this would improve employee satisfaction and collaboration opportunities, leading to higher adoption rates. A win-win situation.

🧐 What do Audit Transformation leaders think?

Storing audit evidence in a structured way, automating sampling, automating detailed audit tests, and client communication; the need for audit firms to work with the latest technology is bigger than ever.

According to Mckinsey, the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed businesses in different industries to adjust rapidly and embrace the adoption of digital technologies. This urgency for being fast-paced has raised the ongoing build versus buy dilemma. Even though the emerging tools look helpful at first glance, audit transformation leaders would only adopt and implement a new solution if consistent and high success rates are assured. Not to forget that continuous development and experimentation are always necessary to stay ahead of the curve!

The number of audit-enhancing technology tools has grown significantly over the past couple of years. Many tools look flashy and helpful at first glance. However, as audit transformation leaders, we need to identify use cases of how they can be consistently used across several industries, clients, and service lines. - Brandon Gaul - Senior Manager at Mazars United States


In a nutshell, on average, audit firms have more than 30-50 audit tools in place. These tools can be overly complex and difficult to learn. This steep learning curve and overwhelm can lead to tool fatigue, lowering tool adoption and value. Find the ones that are easy to implement, learn and use; focus on your top audit use cases, and grow from there.

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And as always; Happy Snipping! 💙🖤

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