Conversations highlights: Adding more client value in audit services
In our Conversations series, our CEO Mark Edmondson sits down with some of the biggest names in accounting and picks their brains about the state of the profession.
Since we began recording these interviews, our guests have had plenty to say about the impact of technology and the need for accountants to evolve.
Many point to the audit planning phase as a key opportunity to start implementing these techniques.
Our highlights video shares how these trend-setters and industry leaders view the future of audit services. Here are some of the key themes they discuss:
A clear trend has been the call for firms to embrace new technologies and the value they can unlock.
Each of our guests has been adamant that the latest technologies will bring significant change to the world of accounting. A transformation of the role of the accountant, meaning firms need to adapt now and consider the impact on existing processes.
The message has been clear: the audit of today needs to change to deliver more value to clients in the future. Technology plays a part but a shift in mindset and approach to delivering services is also required.
Approach to innovation
Another clear theme was that accountants have to change their approach to innovation.
The world of accounting is changing fast, and our guests all agree that you need to adopt an open mind to the changes the future is going to bring.
They urge firms not to get stuck in their current way of doing things. Instead, constantly seek to update your processes and adopt the technology that’s going to increase the quality of your work and the effectiveness of your team.
For Gareth James of EY, the latest tech creates new ways to innovate within your firm. Data analytics software allows you to reinvent the way you work and change the market for services, which can lead to a paradigm shift in the way you work with your clients.
David Chitty of Crowe shares how we’ve all embraced apps on our phones and questions why firms are reluctant to try them in their business? Especially given that the latest generation of tech is easier to use than ever and there’s an active and growing community there to support you.
Another key trend has been the importance of implementing the latest accounting technology on the areas that create the biggest impact.
For Daniel Henwood of BDO, these focus areas are enhancing risk assessment at the planning phase of engagement. Gathering client data in real time is key and his top tip is doing better work in journals testing – something regulators are always pushing for improvements in.
Andrew Moyser of MHA MacIntyre Hudson adds the clearest area to focus on for him is client benchmarking – clients get huge value from seeing their results stacked up against the industry standard. The context of what their growth looks like against their peers is vital information they can’t find anywhere else, and a key area to focus on for some initial gains with the latest tech.
So, what practical impact has adopting the latest tech had?
The first time Lisa Leighton of BHP sat down with a client and walked them through the insights generated by data analytics software, the client ran out of the room to grab their laptop. Out of millions of items, Lisa had identified the single entry of interest, finding the needle in the haystack. The client was amazed.
Gareth James believes that once you experience data analytics software, there’s no going back. It unlocks an entirely new way of working that increases efficiency, audit quality, and the value your clients receive from your services.