Just because state and local governments have shut down your business doesn’t mean that you can take a break on assurance. Auditors have stepped up their skills and have worked hard to improve the audit process, and a recent initiative by the Center for Audit Quality has discussed how audits are improving.

As announced in a new campaign titled Audit in Action, Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) Executive Director Julie Bell Lindsay explored the evolving audit experience and highlighted the people behind the audits. In an interview with the Journal of Accountancy, Lindsay celebrated the continued focus of auditors even in the wake of the pandemic, highlighting how technology, creativity, and skepticism have played a major role in preventing hiccups in the audit process.

In a brief video on the Audit in Action Website, Lindsay discussed how the profession quickly adapted to the new normal, transitioning seamlessly to remote work built on a strong foundation of technology.

The Three Core Drivers of Audit Resilience in the Time of COVID

Lindsay added that the following three components have been vital to the ongoing success of auditors, contributing to audit quality. Whether it’s helping auditors guide committees on technical accounting issues like Goodwill Impairments or going concern or providing insights on how to return to normal after the pandemic ends, Journal of Accountancy highlighted technology, creativity, and skepticism as priorities.

Technology

One of the stories in the Audit in Action campaign describes how Deloitte auditors used technology they have developed in recent years to facilitate a smooth transition to a remote auditing environment. “During the pandemic, auditors have really leveraged the technology that they’ve already been implementing,” she said. Cloud-based audit platforms and videoconferencing technology have been particularly valuable during the pandemic.

Creativity

Auditors have applied their creativity to the challenges they have encountered in the remote environment. For example, practitioners have used GPS technology during video observation of inventory to verify that the cameras were located where clients indicated. “The standards have not changed at all during the pandemic, but the facts on the ground have changed,” Lindsay said. “Auditors have either reinforced or instituted new policies and procedures to deal with the facts on the ground.”

Professional skepticism

The GPS example shows that auditors are continuing to apply their skepticism in innovative ways, Lindsay said. “That’s one of the core competencies of auditors,” she said. “They know they have to exercise extreme skepticism when remote auditing, perhaps even more so than when they were auditing in person.”

Managing the Evolving Audit: Controllers Council is Here to Help

Whether it’s offering tips on building a better relationship with the audit committee or exploring the role of big data in improving audit quality, we’re here to provide you all the latest—as well as a place to discuss audit preparation strategies. We launched the Controllers Council to offer finance and accounting leaders a community and a place to benchmark your processes. Get to know more about us and learn more about joining the Controllers Council today!

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