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AmCham Romania Resource Center for COVID-19 Response Business Advisory The new normality: Remote audit and consulting in the post-COVID economy

The new normality: Remote audit and consulting in the post-COVID economy

by PKF Finconta April 30, 2020
Business Continuity

Author: Alina Făniță, CEOPKF Finconta

As the number of measures to limit the negative effects of the pandemic increases, companies and professions are reformulating their operating practices. The social distance imposed to solve the health crisis has resulted in the spread of remote working as well as of the technologies that support the work from home. As more and more clients operate in this way, auditors are also required to update their work practices by using relevant technological solutions.

Digitization of audit missions

From the perspective of mandatory financial reporting, auditors may encounter practical difficulties, from accessing customer data and documents to the time required to assess the business impact of the pandemic. Therefore, it becomes necessary to adopt technological platforms that make it possible to carry out the audit missions while respecting the principles of social distance.

Of course, financial audit professionals already use different IT solutions, only that they allow remote work within certain limits. That is why the transition to the next level in this work system can be done by adopting additional solutions that facilitate communication between the members of the audit team, the collection of information, the reconciliation of transactions, the analysis and interpretation of financial data.

Add-ins-based  solutions

There are simple solutions and complex solutions. The simple ones consist of tools that harness the power of the well-known Excel and which improve the quality of the audit by releaving the auditor from the task of manually verifying the financial reports. By automating the verification, the verification times are reduced from hours to minutes. In the context of the academy, the concerns of the companies concern their capacity to continue their activity and to evaluate this capacity. Add-ins solutions reduce the time of verification activities and reallocate attention to important customer interaction activities.

Cloud-based solutions

On the other hand, there are also complex technological solutions that allow certain stages of the audit to be performed remotely. These allow the positive response to the challenge of carrying out the audit missions and the provision of tax advisory and transaction assistance services by professionals who are not at the client but work from home.

Cloud platforms can be used by audit companies to extract financial information from customer accounting systems and analyze them using specific technologies. The information is accessed in an efficient way and in full data security conditions. Clients can see the entire work process and the progress of the team when it is not in place.

Cloud computing solutions also allow customers to upload data from all transactions of the period and make them available to auditors to analyze and observe the patterns of historical transactions. The deviations from the previously identified patterns and underlined for further analysis are thus highlighted.

Collaboration without borders

It is possible for a company to have teams across the country that auditors need to talk to and collaborate with. Establishing a program of meetings in physical locations, just to start the collaboration, brings a significant logistical cost and wasted time. In the online environment, you can quickly and easily set the calendar of video conferences in which all those interested can attend. So, remote collaboration has great advantages.

Communication and prompt responses

Sometimes certain stages of the audit missions must be completed in the short term. Working from a distance, including the planning technologies used, allows the timely rearrangement of calendars. You can review the documents followed by a video conference with the client's team the same day, promptly answering any questions.

Multidisciplinary teams

Many projects require multidisciplinary expertise. Working remotely make it easier to select the best mix of people for each job, regardless of location. In this way the client receivea a multidisciplinary team with a single point of contact, the audit manager who coordinates everything.

Competence and efficiency

Thus, remote work entails a rapid implementation of solutions to respond to these new conditions generated by the pandemic. We have the necessary technology so that audit and consulting professionals can support companies with assistance related to the continuation of the activity, changes in the legislative framework as well as the risks that companies currently face. Especially in this context, access to real-time data is crucial for auditors and consultants to effectively meet customer needs.

In conclusion

It is likely that in the next few years, certain parts of the audit missions will be carried out with cognitive technologies. In fact, the audit profession is exploring, experimenting and advancing to use various cognitive technologies in audit missions. A fully automated audit without human intervention is unlikely. But there is a consensus that technology adds substantial value to the audit process for all parties involved.

 

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About PKF Finconta

For over 25 years, PKF Finconta is one of the 10 leading professional services companies in Romania. Since 2006, we are a member of PKF International Limited. PKF International is a leading international business advisory organization. The company grew consistently over the years, forming a Group of four companies: PKF Finconta, PKF Finconta Consultanta, PKF Finconta HR and Finconta Consulting SPRL, members of national professional organizations CECCAR, CAFR, CCFR, and UNPIR. We provide a wide range of business advisory and related specialist services. We have seven core areas of expertise and within these areas, we tailor our services to your business and your needs: audit, corporate finance, tax, bookkeeping and accounting advisory services, transfer pricing, payroll and personnel administration, and insolvency.

 

Business Continuity

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