Sharing their thoughts on the future of auditing here are: Mark Baer, managing partner of the audit services group at Top 10 Firm Crowe Horwath; Frank Casal, vice chair of audit at Big Four firm KPMG; Cindy Fornelli, the executive director of the Center for Audit Quality; Joel Shamon, the national audit leader at Top Five Firm RSM US; and Jimmy Thompson, an audit partner at Texas-based MaloneBailey. Shamon: At RSM, as we look to the future, data analytics and big data will be a big topic, as will the ability to analyze client information -- and not just financial information but other external information that will inform the financial statement user. Working with the audit committee community, the public company auditing profession continues to develop tools and resources aimed at enhancing communication and the oversight process. Data analytics, artificial intelligence, and access to detailed industry information will all combine to help auditors better understand the business, identify risks and issues, and deliver additional insights.
At Rutgers University, for example, Miklos Vasarhelyi, the director of the Rutgers Accounting Research Center and Continuous Auditing & Reporting Lab, has been advocating for more analytics and more continuous, semi-automated audit processes for many years. Martin Baumann, the chief auditor and director of professional standards at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, commented in a video interview for the Journal of Accountancy:3 "We wouldn't want auditing standards to be an inhibitor that might otherwise allow technological audit achievements to move ahead." The leaders of the practice are committed to major changes in audit processes and technology, and analytics and automation technologies are key features of the new process. I've spoken about this topic with audit executives at Deloitte, accounting professors at various universities, and vendors of analytics and automation technologies.