Transforming the role of Audit – how adopting technology will be a game changer for the Accounting Profession

12 November 2018

BDO USA’s Mark Mayberry, Director, Assurance Office of Tomorrow, was a speaker at the World Congress of Accountants, held in Australia this month.

Mark’s role has seen him at the forefront of technology led advancements in BDO for the last 20 years, much of which is focussed on transforming audit services.

“The role of an auditor will transform in the next decade, from that of attesting on historical financial statements, to providing independent assurance on other business information,” Mark said.

“Right now the role involves analysing financial information, and issuing a report around a compliance framework. But with better access to data, we will be able to provide holistic assurance on a range of other items for example on elements of corporate social responsibility such as meeting sustainability and environmental targets.”

“Because Auditors are an independent role, removed from the business, their expertise will continue to be in demand.”

He explained that there are four pillars to adopting technology in the accounting profession

  1. Enabling technology – it moves us to 100% analysis rather than sampling when conducting audits. Able to compare financial, operational and external data all at once
  2. Supportable methodology – it is a comprehensive solution that fits all shapes and sizes of engagements in multiple jurisdictions and meets auditing standards
  3. Modern learning – critical thinking, statistics and predictive analysis along with expertise with data visualisation and relationship mapping
  4. Change management – this is critical as it requires all involved to accept to use the key tools and technology.

Reflecting on BDO’s global progress to date, Mark said that a key to success has been to find people with passion and empower them to drive the change locally.

“The challenges continue to be around regulatory scrutiny in each jurisdiction. The USA, Europe and Australia were key regions that were well advanced with their technology developments.”

“The possibilities in layering data as part of an audit service are limitless and the creation of client portals, tailored dashboards and presentation materials will elevate the role of Professional Services experts with their clients.

“Partners will be able to interact with dashboards in real-time to show their clients benchmarking and data sets with real meaning to the C-Suite and Board Level executive.”