Audit 2020: A focus on change

Emerging technologies and an explosion of available data have led the audit profession to a turning point. As an auditor, you need to keep pace with this technology and leverage it to deliver a more insightful audit.

Forbes Insights’ Audit 2020: A Focus on Change, sponsored by KPMG, recaps the auditors' outlook on the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Key findings:

  • Ninety-three percent of respondents believe that the audit profession needs to evolve. A third believe that auditors should go beyond certifying numbers, and 59 per cent think that while the auditors’ role should stay the same, how they perform it should evolve.
  • Culture (66 per cent) and the regulatory environment (59 per cent) are seen as the biggest challenges to enhancing the role of the audit. These two factors are intertwined, as the intense regulation of the audit leads to a highly structured, process-oriented working environment, which can create resistance to change.
  • Becoming more proactive is the key characteristic crucial for the auditor of the future. That enhanced level of proactivity is required in providing more insights (50 per cent), more quality (48 per cent) and more value (41 per cent).
  • An increase in the profession’s status (60 per cent) is the most important way for audit to evolve, according to young auditors and accounting students. Audit should be perceived as a profession, not a job, and career tracks should become more rewarding.
  • Technology has the biggest impact on the audit profession (58 per cent). For young auditors, the top-ranked benefit of technology is that it provides tools for more sophisticated analysis (80 per cent), while survey respondents overall value most highly the efficiency it brings (59 per cent).
  • A trio of skills is equally essential for future auditors: experience in the client’s industry (52 per cent), investigative financial skills (52 per cent) and critical thinking (52 per cent). Underlying these is the need for adaptability, which is indispensable in a profession based on learning and change.