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Software for Auditors: Unleash the Potential of Intelligent Automation

June 5, 2023

Intelligent audit platforms can transform your workflows, helping to improve the speed and quality of your audit.

Auditors are professionally skeptical by training — and that’s a good thing most of the time. But this skepticism can sometimes stand in the way of much-needed innovation.

The challenges facing senior and junior auditors are clear. Audit engagements are becoming more complex, timelines are always under pressure, and young professionals are deterred from joining a profession that doesn’t embrace automation and intelligent tools.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics can address all of these issues. Good software can help to make audits quicker, more accurate, and higher quality, but persuading firms to change the way they work can be a challenge.

It doesn’t help that some tools aren’t fit for purpose. Even where firms have invested in software solutions, many staff don’t use them. Some platforms are too complex or don’t solve the real problems that auditors face — or introduce entirely new problems.

The key to implementing audit technology that lives up to expectations starts with choosing the right solution for the problems that you’re trying to solve. So let’s look at some of the benefits that good software can deliver, the key features needed to transform your audit workflows, and how to choose a solution.

The Value of Auditing Software

The right tools help auditors do their job better, allowing them to work together effectively and focus only on those parts of the audit process that require significant professional judgment.

Everyone benefits from this. The audit itself is better, of course, but the auditors also get to spend more time doing the parts of the job that they enjoy — and less on mind-numbing tasks. This helps to attract and retain junior staff and also means that they develop their professional skills much faster.

Here are some of the ways that automation can improve the auditing workflow:

  • Efficiency. Automating repetitive tasks such as data entry, documentation, control testing, and reconciliation saves huge amounts of time.
  • Accuracy. Auditing software can minimize human error by performing calculations, spotting inconsistencies and flagging potential errors. Templates allow for a standardized approach across engagements that minimize discrepancies arising from manual approaches.
  • Collaboration. Team members can work simultaneously on the same engagement, review work papers, and provide feedback in real time, leading to much better communication, knowledge sharing, and coordination.
  • Quality. Putting all these benefits together produces better audits. Practitioners spend more time on high value-added tasks, while the technology makes it easier to detect unusual patterns that may indicate manipulation of accounts or other problems.
  • Flexibility. Making good use of software tools allows firms to adapt to the needs of different engagements and the evolving business environments and regulatory landscapes. At the same time, the ability to scale supports organizational growth.

7 Essential Auditing Software Features

Software with the right capabilities can transform the way audits are conducted and help to leverage the skills of auditors. Some of the most important features to consider include:

Before implementing any software solution, create a checklist of your business needs.

  1. Document management. Seamless document management capabilities are a must-have feature. This includes the ability to store, organize, and search audit documents using a clear and intuitive interface. The software should allow for version control, document linking, and the ability to attach relevant files, making it easy to share and retrieve documents during audits and subsequent reviews.
  2. Audit trail. Good documentation capabilities allow users to keep track of all activities performed within the software, allowing for a simple and efficient review of audit procedures. An audit trail enhances transparency, accountability, and the ability to reconstruct audit steps, which is important for quality control, compliance, and regulatory purposes.
  3. Data analysis. Powerful data extraction and analysis can really boost the efficiency of an audit. Effective audit software should allow users to automatically extract and organize data from all types of documents, as well as providing the ability to verify mathematical accuracy and review internal consistency of figures in a financial statement.
  4. Workflow management. This includes the ability to track progress throughout the audit engagement. The software should provide a way to manage and monitor the status of audit tasks, assign responsibilities, and facilitate collaboration among team members.
  5. Customization. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to conduct an audit, so customization is important. The software should conform to different audit methodologies, frameworks, and industry requirements. It should also support custom checklists and templates that can be set up to make future engagements even more efficient.
  6. Integration and compatibility. It’s crucial that any new audit tool should work well with other software systems. It should be able to integrate with financial systems, data sources, and popular productivity tools, as well as being easy for auditors to use.
  7. Training and support. Comprehensive onboarding resources, documentation, and responsive customer support can add real value. Great training resources ensure auditors can make the best use of the software’s full potential, while timely and reliable support is crucial for addressing technical issues and resolving any software-related challenges.

Software with these capabilities aligns with auditors’ unique needs, streamlines audit processes, and improves overall productivity and effectiveness.

Choosing the right auditing software for your business

There’s more to choosing the right software than simply checking off a list of features. What works for one firm might not be right for another, so it’s important to carefully consider all the options and weigh them against your unique requirements.

Here are some steps to guide you in the decision-making process:

  • Assess your needs. Identify the specific requirements of your firm, considering factors such as the pain points, challenges, and inefficiencies in your current audit processes. Based on this analysis, consider the features you need to address each of these issues.
  • Research and compare. Conduct thorough research on different software options available in the market. Compare features, pricing plans, and user reviews.
  • Evaluate features. Shortlist the best potential solutions and evaluate their features against your specific requirements. Consider all of the features described above, such as document management, data analysis, and compatibility.
  • Ease of use and training. Carefully consider the user-friendliness of the software. A powerful solution that nobody uses is pointless. Look for intuitive interfaces and great training resources or support. Involve key stakeholders and get feedback from end users to make sure the platform meets their needs.
  • Integration capability. Aligned to ease of use is integration. To ensure widespread adoption, prioritize tools that seamlessly fit into auditors’ existing workflows and practices. The steepness of the learning curve will have a significant effect on adoption.
  • Vendor reputation. Check the software vendor’s track record, considering factors such as customer base and client testimonials. Look for a company with good customer support, regular software updates, and a commitment to data security.
  • Book a demo. Test the software on a real-world audit scenario and compare its performance against the promises it makes. Gather feedback from users and engage with the vendor on any potential issues.

Finally, based on your evaluation, feedback from stakeholders, and consideration of all the factors above, you should be in a position to make an informed decision that aligns with your firm’s needs and objectives.

DataSnipper's Software for Auditors

DataSnipper is an intelligent audit add-on for Excel that accelerates the speed and quality of your audit. It focuses on automating and easily documenting tests of details, tests of controls, walkthroughs, and financial statement procedures.

Check out this case study with Visser&Visser to see how DataSnipper can save you time on audit procedures.

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