The audit space has been, and will continue to be, one of the most disrupted by advances in automation and compliance-focused technologies.
Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Smithink founder David Smith said he foresees that audits will progress to the point that algorithms will allow auditors to customise an audit based on perceived risk, or ‘bundle’ parts of a job so that auditors can zero in on high-risk areas.
These technologies could pave the way for audit firms to further monitor and evaluate the performance of their team members, he added.
“Because everybody is lumped in when they are doing their audits on these audit systems, the systems can watch what they’re doing and determine how efficient individual team members are and make suggestions about how they could be even more efficient,” Mr Smith said.
“So using the technology to drill into the actual practices of the auditors could be another area [of growth] and some of the technologies are playing around with this idea.
“I’m not sure how the team members will go when they know that big brother is watching. But I think there is an opportunity there to really home in on how they are doing things.”
Auditors, specifically SMSF auditors, are high on the regulators' hit list this financial year, with the ATO recently announcing it will be paying particularly close attention to those who are relying excessively on automation.
“What would concern us is if we see SMSF auditors not necessarily providing their skill and judgment – just relying on the automated process to do the finance checks, and then not actually turning their mind to the regulatory issues,” said ATO deputy commissioner Kasey Macfarlane.