Technology Audit has taken on a whole new meaning as the advent of robotics, automation and cognitive technology has revolutionised the auditing process. The changes brought about by artificial intelligence and its complex tools allows auditors to process larger amounts of data far more efficiently and precisely, in order to deliver detailed, high quality audits and give deeper insights to those at executive level and audit committees to better understand their organisations.
Those working in technology audit must have more than just an understanding of accounting and auditing, the role requires strong analytical, data science and IT skills to complement their financial and business savvy. Companies themselves must readdress their hiring criteria as the complexity of their operations deepens and the quantity of data generated increases. In addition, businesses are not only competing with fellow auditing firms for talent but also the likes of Apple and Google as cybersecurity becomes a more central factor in the audit function.
Jobs in technology audit require the candidates applying for them to be au fait with using non-traditional sources to obtain and analyse information, facilitated by cognitive technology. In an age of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to name a few, they become part of the equation together with TV, radio and the Internet in determining the impact of external information on an audit. Ultimately, a technology audit professional must be able to analyse not only the standard financials that make up a client’s information but any other relevant external information that will help build an overall picture.
Those working in technology audit should have a solid understanding of cybersecurity in order to assess the technology risks affecting the business and how that relates to audit. An understanding of regulatory trends is also pertinent for those pursuing careers in technology audit as stricter governance and expectations from regulators requires those working in audit to do their job with greater transparency and accountability. Stakeholder relationships are also highly important for auditors to maintain effectively, responding to stakeholder needs and being flexible in the same respect.
Technology auditors should be bringing to the table tech savvy but also an awareness of developments in the marketplace to enable them to be making the right investments in new technologies for their companies. With new tools like blockchain changing the face of audit, in addition to the use of mobile technology, data analytics and machine learning already underway, those entering the field must expect changes not only to how they do the job but also the job itself. Automation and blockchain are only set to become the norm for future audit, but the human element will remain an important part of the auditing process as the explosion of digital and data ups the ante of the confidence-building factor in an auditor’s arsenal.
As drones, satellite imagery, cloud computing and the advancements in mobile technology create a more remote audit approach in reflection of an increasingly mobile modern workforce, the need for extensive travel typically required in the audit profession will be significantly reduced. The complexity of business operations brought about by these technological innovations demands auditors with the skills to think analytically, understand data and be able to translate data patterns and anomalies into relevant audit evidence. Certainly, for those entering the profession at entry level there are exciting opportunities to be part of and more importantly help drive the “audit revolution”. If nothing else, it’s important for today’s auditors to stay ahead of technological changes affecting their industry to keep audit quality and capabilities in line with the evolving marketplace.