2021 in Review

We have closed the page on another challenging year, as we continue to adjust to new ways of working and communicating.

Thinking back over the last twelve months, I would like to call out some highlights across the year and recognize my team and our customers for their ongoing digital transformation efforts.

Digital Evolution

This year has seen a lot of attention focused on the digital evolution which advanced the audit’s purpose, the way it is performed, and the outputs it provides. It has brought about a new way of thinking about the whole audit experience.

A major milestone at Inflo in 2021 was the release of Inflo Workpapers in May. This innovative engagement platform combined with a proprietary, data-driven audit methodology made available a truly Digital Audit capability for firms of all sizes, fully leveraging and complementing our data analytics and digital collaboration products.

In December we also released Inflo Treasury, providing new functionality leveraging open banking. Inflo Treasury offers the ability to advance the bank confirmations process and leverage bank statement data to further transform the audit process.

Our definitive Digital Audit guide provides an overview of the broad range of functionality available across the Inflo platform.

Embracing the Future

There has been an ongoing trend in the accounting profession which, has become known as The Great Resignation.  To retain and develop talent we must modernise what we do to make audit and accounting an attractive proposition, which was highlighted in my conversation with Gavin Black, Partner, and Head of Audit from Henderson Loggie.

The ACA is one of the most advanced learning and professional development accountancy qualifications available globally it was evolved during 2021 by the ICAEW as part of an initiative to incorporate emerging technologies into accountancy education. Inflo worked closely with ICAEW’s Learning and Professional Development team, as well as examiners and other stakeholders, to embed Inflo within ACA examinations using client scenarios designed specifically to develop the skills needed in the modern accountant.

In 2021 over 11,000 individual students sat ACA exams which included Inflo.

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Knowledge Sharing

We have increased our knowledge and expertise sharing in 2021 via Inflo Pulse – our new online resource where you can find recent articles on the latest trends and insights along with webcasts, videos, industry-specific interviews, and all in one place.

In case you missed them:

  • Inflo top takeaways: FRC UK Reports

The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC’s) Annual Audit Quality Inspection results cover the UK’s seven largest audit firms. We shared our thoughts on the results and how other firms could learn lessons to improve audit quality, as well as the FRC’s key facts and trends in the UK accountancy profession.

  • The UK approach to the Less Complex Entities Standard

In November ICAEW held a hybrid event to discuss the exposure draft for the new less complex entity audit standard. I left the session questioning whether automation, rather than the new standard, was the way to improve the effectiveness of audits of less complex entities.

  • Audit Methodology series

The Digital Audit methodology tackles head-on some of the most complex areas for auditing. The series covered; Planning, Workprograms, Audit Data Analytics, Sampling, Risk Assessment, Response to Risk, and Group Audits.

  • Digital Transformation series

The digital shift is not unique to any specific industry. The integration of digital technology is fundamentally changing how businesses operate and the value they provide to customers. In this series, we evaluated what professional service firms can learn from other industries. The series covered: Media & Entertainment, Banking & Communication, Healthcare, Consumer Goods, Hospitality and Professional Services.

On the Road Again

It was refreshing to attend some live events in 2021 as well as being able to contribute to other events in multiple hybrid formats. 

I spent some key time with clients and combined my love of NFL when attending the Atlanta Falcons game with customers in October, and followed this up with a visit to Windsor Castle to celebrate Inflo’s Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

The Digital Accountancy Forum and Awards, an event Inflo has supported for several years, gave myself and my team a chance to catch up with customers and colleagues.  Our team in the US was also able to attend in-person events including this year’s AICPA’s Engage and Digital CPA. While in APAC our team attended a mix of events including CAANZ Audit Conference, the AUASB Technology Advisory Group meetings, the MIA conference, and the ISCA Tech Fair.

While we couldn’t meet in person I had some great conversations with Al Anderson, Donny Shimamoto, and Mark Mayberry.

Celebrating Success

Operating in these uncertain times has been challenging, so it’s important to recognize and celebrate our achievements. 2021 saw some fantastic recognition for Inflo’s work driving digital transformation and innovation within audit and accounting:

Conclusion

2021 was an incredible year with great progress made at Inflo and by our customers. 2022 promises to be just as exciting with key developments including new audit standards and quality management requirements, presenting a unique opportunity for auditors and accountants to achieve incremental digitalization or digital transformation. I’m excited for the year ahead!