Embracing the Future of Auditing

The audit of tomorrow will be very different from the audit of today. Advanced technologies are enhancing audit quality and efficiency as we speak.

However, alongside these opportunities come challenges, such as a new league of cyber risks and the opacity of black boxes relating to Artificial Intelligence. At the same time, stakeholders have higher expectations of the auditor's work. Expectations that reach beyond the traditional financial domain.

At KPMG, we are embracing these exciting new opportunities wholeheartedly. Our focus lies on harnessing an array of technological innovations responsibly while upholding the principles of trust, transparency, and the human touch. With a forward-thinking mindset, auditors can confidently steer the profession into a future where trust remains the bedrock of financial systems in an ever-changing world.

In our "Clarity on" campaign, we elaborate on a variety of technological developments. In this respect, it is impossible to overlook the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could revolutionize the world of audit.

But there is more. Continuous auditing delivers a whole new speed in audits; blockchain may be adopted as a 'trust machine'; and on a conceptual level: How can we build trust in a new digital society?  

We believe that the future of auditing lies at the intersection of innovation and human expertise

Our auditors possess a unique ability to think critically and be curious. It is in our DNA and these attributes are precisely what is needed to harness the power of technology. It is in the hands of KPMG auditors that the full potential of technology can be unlocked.

Lukas Marty
Partner, Head of Audit, Member of the Executive Committ

What is the future of audit in a nutshell

AI is currently dominating the technological landscape. It has the potential to revolutionize the world of auditors, but we need to look beyond the hype. AI will no doubt become increasingly useful once its capabilities are well understood and its limitations adequately addressed. As AI matures, it will be further integrated into the audit process, augmenting auditors' abilities and improving the accuracy and efficiency of audits while gaining more relevant insights.

Continuous auditing, a long-desired aspiration in the auditing profession, has become a reality with the maturation of auditing tools. It enables professionals to monitor transactions and financial data continuously, providing real-time insights and reducing the lag between data collection and analysis. The result: better and faster detection of anomalies and potential risks. 

One of the new concepts emerging to build trust is blockchain, sometimes referred to as a ‘trust machine.’ Blockchain technology creates a permanent record and a single source of truth. One of the promising areas is that it may provide us with richer and more reliable insights on ESG information, also when it comes to Scope 3 emissions (downstream and upstream in the supply chain).

Advanced technology, such as robotic automation, artificial intelligence and blockchain can make businesses more efficient and competitive. This also requires new ways of providing assurance over the use of technology, including protecting businesses from new risks such as cyberattacks. Moreover, as we embrace AI and automation, it is crucial to be critical of the inherent biases that could seep into the decision-making process. At the same time, there is also a growing need for assurance in the domain of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and technology plays a key role there as well. 

While the powerful toolbox of technologies promises enhanced quality and efficiency, auditors must navigate the risks thoughtfully. After all: A fool with a tool is still a fool. This is why we need critical thinking on a level that machines currently cannot deliver. Embracing the ‘human in the loop’ approach is therefore the way forward in a new era of auditing.

Now that technology has permeated every aspect of our society, we are starting to recognize that the impact goes beyond a mere technological transformation; it also has far-reaching consequences on how we build and maintain trust in a world dominated by technology. This leads to a much more collaborative approach that requires regular communication and exchange - the human element remains integral.