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Building the audit practice of the future

Scott Spradling  Vice President, Audit & Accounting, Thomson Reuters

Scott Spradling  Vice President, Audit & Accounting, Thomson Reuters

Why, you might ask, would Thomson Reuters choose to partner with MindBridge Analytics Inc., a little-known start-up based in Ottawa, Canada? The answer is multifaceted.

The audit profession is changing profoundly. The convergence of cloud systems, data analytics and artificial intelligence creates entirely new ways to conduct an audit. For the first time, auditors have the opportunity to efficiently access 100 percent of an auditee’s financial data. This opens up a new world as auditors can directly access and analyze data to gather the evidence they need, rather than relying on samples and extrapolations.

If we take a look back, the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in 2002 ushered in a six-year golden age in auditing. Firms were asked to audit internal controls more closely, and the profession was overflowing with work and opportunity. That began to end with the Great Recession in 2008.

The profession is now at another inflection point as we enter a new period of profound change. This time, it’s due to major advances in technology.

Given the recent pace of technological change, audit firms know that they must become more data-centric (or data-immersed) in order to evolve the audit, compete effectively and add greater value for their customers. The very largest firms are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new technologies, particularly cognitive and data analytics. The rest are wondering how they’re going to keep up and remain competitive.

That’s where the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters comes in. We are a leader in the audit market with thousands of firms relying on our solutions to conduct their audits. These firms need a technology partner to take them into this new era of auditing. As the market leader, we have a huge opportunity. Conversely, a failure to respond means our leadership position is at risk. So, as with many things in business, status quo simply isn’t an option.

We expect data analytics and cognitive technologies to continue evolving, making the audit process increasingly more effective and increasingly more efficient. Cognitive and machine learning can  provide assisted decision making for auditors, based on how others in the profession have made similar judgments. It’s like having a virtual peer who is always available for you to consult with.

We’ve seen this change coming for some time and are well-positioned to help our customers capitalize. Through a combination of Checkpoint Engage™, Onvio™ and Advanceflow®, Thomson Reuters now has the leading cloud-based audit platform. We’ve invested heavily in this platform, and it now provides us with a significant competitive advantage to build from. Our platform serves as a powerful foundation for data analytics and cognitive capabilities that will enable our audit firm customers to take advantage of the latest advances in technology to build their business and serve their clients well into the future.

 

 

So, in response to the opening question, our focus on where the audit profession is headed is the reason why we are partnering with MindBridge. In the midst of such profound change, we must offer new and innovative technologies to maintain and extend our leadership position. Our relationship with MindBridge, working in collaboration with Thomson Reuters Labs™, will fully leverage MindBridge Ai Auditor, a product that holds promise of delivering capabilities beyond any data analytics technology we’ve seen for the full audit profession.

We look forward to integrating these offerings with our market-leading Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting Audit Suite so that our customers can reap the benefits of a full spectrum of leading technologies as they build their audit practice of the future.

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