Innovation in the auditing industry is great news for your clients. As you find ways to increase the quality of your work while reducing the amount of time you spend interacting with your clients, your customers spend less for better service. From your perspective, introducing innovative audit techniques distinguishes you from other auditing companies. You’ll also end up with better control over resources, the ability to take on more clients, and opportunities to leverage knowledge from one audit to another.
As you analyze the financial performance of your client, build analytical models that can test output and adapt. Begin by taking a sample of your client’s full data set and formulate predictions. Take 100 of your client’s invoices, and based on the cost center, invoice date, dollar amount, and vendor, write formulas to predict the approval date and payment date. Then, use this formula to predict 100 other invoice approval dates and payment dates. Repeat this process until you’ve developed a machine learning cycle where your formula can loop and self-manage based on the additional information it accumulates. This type of innovation increases the quality of your audit and ultimately minimizes the amount of time you spend analyzing data.
Documentation and Information Sharing
Your auditing business has endless possibilities regarding how to share and transfer information. Instead of settling into old processes of sharing paper files and communicating with your audit team in person, leverage technology to save your client time and money. Assign mobile devices to each member of your audit team to enhance flexibility. Instead of travelling to your client, save costs by performing the audit off-site. Ditch emailing and rely on project management platforms. Use auto-saving software to minimize the risk of information loss and data extraction to pull larger amounts of data from your clients. Implement data validation measures to enhance the security of what you receive.
Data and Analytics
As you develop audit plans for your clients, consider implementing additional data and analytical metrics to improve your financial or tax audit’s quality. Many audit firms have established metrics they use to gauge risk, performance, and reporting reasonableness. Instead of using simple financial metrics, explore innovative analytical techniques to efficiently assess your client’s operations. Explore trends, larger data sets, transaction patterns, historical performance, and account relationships. Review the metrics you currently dig into, and compare them to new ways of looking at data to increase the efficiency of your audit.
Historical audit teams grouped talented but like-minded accountants to analyze a company. One way to implement innovation is by bringing in new perspectives. Instead of filling your audit team with only accountants, diversify the knowledge of your group by relying on people with different areas of expertise. Are your client’s marketing expenses reasonable based on its five-year strategic plan, market saturation, and sales performance? An individual with substantial knowledge of the marketing industry can provide a high-level perspective whether this is an area of high audit risk. Are your client’s sales numbers reasonable? Consult industry experts. Are your client’s customer demographics accurate? Discuss the figures with members of the community with intimate knowledge of the community. Be mindful to perform your audit using sensitivity regarding your client’s information.
Come up with new ways to perform financial audits to save your clients time and money. Leverage technology, new perspectives on data, and expertise of others to develop innovative ways to review the financial information of your clients. The practice of using innovative audit techniques not only makes your current clients happier but increases your likelihood of attracting the attention of new clients.