Dividing the work could pave the way for companies to automate elements of the audit process, allowing them to free up human resources to focus on improving controls and preventing fraud. "When clients decide to split a professional service, it paves the way for change in the competitive landscape, and that's what's happening in audit at the moment," said Fiona Czerniawska, co-founder of Source Global, which surveyed 150 executives in the U.S. and U.K who are involved in the selection of external auditors. "People are already starting to act on this." Fifty-nine percent of executives said technology firms would gather data faster and at a lower cost than external accounting and audit firms, the report said. Sixty-one percent said technology firms would do a better job of automating financial processes than these firms, according to the report.