BDO officially kicked off a network-wide digital transformation strategy about two years ago, and the firm is now making “substantial investment” in technology and infrastructure across its firms.
Audit is a priority service line, with the company giving a particular focus on integrating robotics and analytics into its audit process, said global head of IT Belinda Thompson.
Workflow tools in the audit service line will also be further invested in, as will other new features such as chat bots and apps that simplify an inventory count.
Ms Thompson insisted that while “it’s logical” that over time there will be cost savings, it’s not the principal focus of BDO’s program.
“There’s a big investment in change program. It’s not as simple as saying, ‘Okay, this program then leads to a cheaper outcome, which then leads to a reduction in service costs’,” Ms Thompson said.
“Automation, over time, acknowledging what is a very substantial upfront cost to get you into that position, leads to benefits, [and] there’s no doubt they will cascade through to our clients. But our focus is more so on insights in the analytics space, for example, which add additional value to our clients.”
BDO is keen to see its people reengineer their roles and workflow when they have new tools at their disposal.
“The way they approach their jobs, and the way that they approach the robotics engagement, changes,” Ms Thompson said.
“Let’s face it, there’s components of all of our roles that are pretty operational, and somewhat challenging, somewhat boring. When you look at those, you can have the opportunity to say, ‘Okay, how can I use a robot to streamline that? How can I use a robot to add additional value to clients?’
“That is the conversations we are having with our staff at the moment.”