The traditional audit process is being transformed by the tech revolution. The days of locking the auditor away counting widgets in the warehouse are coming to an end.
Long hours of manually adding up are being replaced by artificial intelligence, microchips, drones and satellite imagery as examples of technology employed by audit firms to reduce mundane tasks completed by audit juniors.
Audit is now about interaction, people-facing and making risk-based judgement from the data available. The role of the modern auditor must embrace automation and focus on our human abilities to add value to the process.
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“Nowadays, auditing software maps out balances against various tests, and these things are much easier to review,” he says. “You still have to scan documents and upload them to the audit file, but there are far fewer manual exercises.” Jane Makrakis, Deloitte’s student talent partner in audit, believes tech will liberate junior accountants. “A large part of the role of an auditor is interactive and people-facing, and it requires judgment. These are the kinds of human abilities not likely to be replaced by automation,” she says. “I can see tasks changing within roles, but not necessarily the roles themselves disappearing. Young people are likely to find themselves in a career which provides more varied work.”