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Advanced technology is changing the face of audit

We’re witnessing a transformation in the way we do audits thanks to the proliferation of powerful technology tools. Auditors are developing the necessary skills and acumen to capitalize on this technology so we can continue to deliver high quality audits that satisfy regulatory standards and our clients’ needs. There’s a better way. KPMG.

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New developments offer new opportunities

Cloud. Blockchain. Data and analytics (D&A). Robotic process automation (RPA). Drones. Intelligent automation (IA). These advanced technologies are revolutionizing the business landscape, drastically transforming the way companies work. And just as the business world is changing, the audit profession is adapting and adjusting the way it works. Auditors are utilizing these advanced technology tools to collect, analyze, and – most importantly – understand the vast amounts of client data so they can continue providing quality audits that offer even deeper insights into their clients’ organizations.

The result is that auditors can spend more time gaining deeper perspectives about the client’s processes, inventory and systems controls, which they can share with management and boards via the audit. In fact, more than 74 percent of corporate finance executives say their auditors use advanced technologies, and 94 percent believe that this improves audit quality.

Finalist: Digital Innovation of the Year award

International Accounting Forum & Awards announced KPMG as a finalist for their 2023 award based on advances made in collaboration with Mindbridge. 
2023 Finalist

Interested in how advanced technology can be used for a deeper perspective?

Your business is unique.

Our approach to an audit is unique to you, while still built to scale. The technology we bring to the audit becomes even more powerful when aligned with your technology capabilities and data strategy. Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, we bring foundational capabilities with the agility to adapt our audit approach to your unique business.

Explore our technology stories that can help your business.

Structuring unstructured data

Automating the extraction of unstructured data

KPMG LLP’s proprietary technology uses emerging technology, including optical character recognition, to facilitate the extraction of relevant data from unstructured documents, such as bank confirmation PDFs. It can also identify matching data across multiple documents, ultimately resulting in efficient, high-quality reconciliation that is easy to trace back to source documents. 

KPMG is focused on a more automated, data-driven audit to deliver quality and efficiency to our clients. Automating our response to risk is integral to that vision. Enter our proprietary document data extraction and validation tool. 


In Action: For the last few years, a large financial services client and the KPMG team have pushed to implement new technology and innovation throughout the global audit engagement. Any time saved can help the KPMG team increase their focus on higher-risk areas, so they embraced this technology as soon as it became available.

“I kept thinking it was too good to be true,” one team member noted, “especially because the tool is so easy to use.”

The outcome? Another successful technology implementation to share with the client. By automating previously manual processes like these, KPMG teams can redistribute time and focus from low-judgment work to areas of increased risk – thereby optimizing time spent in relevant areas – overall, a better audit experience.

Automating 100% testing

Automated funds toolkit

For our asset management clients, automated routines test the bulk of our clients’ balance sheets – investments – automatically, which lifts a large burden off our clients and their teams.

Audit clients are looking for innovation that reduces the total cost of the audit – including the work their teams do – and enhances audit quality.

In Action: One engagement team tackled this dual challenge head-on with our firm’s automated funds toolkit, which enables a data-focused approach and the automated testing of entire sets of data. The toolkit is part of our continuously growing suite of industry-specific innovation to support a more consistent and efficient response to risk.

After the KPMG team coordinated data elements and requirements, they were able to automate testing, which ultimately provided significant productivity gains, and shift their approach from sampling to 100% testing, advancing audit quality.

The KPMG team noted that while they faced an upfront time investment, there was no increased burden on the client, and the results spoke for themselves.

With emerging technologies, audit’s data exchange is simpler than it used to be. In just the first year of implementing automated routines, this KPMG engagement was able to conduct 100% testing in the same time as the traditional approach took in the previous year’s audit, and significant time savings are expected in following years.  While this example is specific to the asset management industry, similar solutions are available in other industries – working together with KPMG Clara, they help deliver a better audit experience.

Streamlining data extraction

Data Extraction and Transformation

When it comes to the extraction and transformation of client data, technology helps navigate multiple-ERP system environments to reduce the burden on KPMG clients, while powering KPMG Clara and our data and analytics capabilities to refine our risk assessment and deliver new insights. 

For companies with several entities, reducing the back-and-forth between the company and an audit engagement team is a priority. We’re doing that with our clients by using leading innovative data extraction and transformation technologies to get more data in less time for a quality audit.

In Action: One KPMG senior manager, engaged in the audit of a company with several entities, knew her client and KPMG team could save hundreds of hours in the testing process by integrating automated data transformation technologies into their procedures to match and map disparate data sets.

Upfront, the KPMG team worked with the client to better understand their process, using those technologies to automate key steps, while troubleshooting exceptions. After just a few weeks, this capability saved time for the client and the KPMG team, which was then able to focus on areas of greater risk, ultimately enhancing audit quality.

Now that the routine is set up, it takes the team less than an hour to run and saves hundreds of hours of manual test work. In addition, the team has been able to share new insights derived through this process.  Next, the team’s goal is to integrate the routine throughout the year, saving time at each quarterly review.

Bots = benefits

Robotic process automation (RPA)

When it comes to a more efficient response to risk, data transformation and robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities can help reduce the effort on KPMG clients and enable our teams to focus their efforts on areas of higher risk.

The compounding impact of simple process automation brings consistency and efficiency in audit engagements. KPMG audit teams are using RPA on a widespread basis to deliver these benefits to our clients. 

In Action: In one illustrative example, a team was focused on reducing the time spent on manual tasks, so they invested in automation and data analysis. Working with a complex client and numerous systems, prepping data for testing previously required more than 170 steps. These steps included reconciling data, selecting samples, and preparing client requests, among other detailed tasks.

In order to automate clusters of manual tasks, the team used an advanced RPA development platform to design a workflow of only four steps -- integrating components from sample selection to request preparation. Now, pre-processing drives a more productive quality audit. The client benefits from a more efficient audit with enhanced quality and reduced disruption, and the team is able to focus on higher risk areas.

Looking ahead, with data transformation more automated, efficient, repeatable and scalable, this team, among many others at KPMG, can better handle data from disparate ERP systems. Together with KPMG Clara, this reduces the burden on clients and sets the foundation for future analytics and visualization as well as increased automation capabilities.

Visualizing your business

Data visualization

Understanding the client’s business is the foundation of audit quality. Data visualization capabilities help explore large data sets more quickly and dynamically, identifying patterns and drawing insights for a more focused and refined risk assessment.

KPMG is focused on continuous improvement through innovation to advance both audit quality and our clients’ audit experience. In practice, our teams are doubling down on data analysis to refine risk assessments.

In Action: One KPMG team sought to better communicate decisions and deliver deeper insights to their client. In this instance, they leveraged the firm’s risk dashboard for revenue, which is part of a suite of data visualization tools for risk assessment.

“Some tools focus on automation and efficiency to cut down on workloads, but this one is all about performing a better risk assessment,” says the senior manager on the engagement.

This particular dashboard enabled our client to view dynamic, interactive visualizations of their ledger data, enabling the KPMG team to show patterns and detail insights that affected their risk assessment decisions.

“When we presented this to our client controller, assistant controller, and their internal audit team, they were all blown away.”

Our data visualization capabilities – including several pre-built dashboards – allow our clients to benefit from this capability. And, in concert with KPMG Clara, they will continue to refine our risk assessment, increasing efficiency while enhancing audit quality and delivering greater insights. That makes for a better audit experience.

The next best thing to being there – the virtual audit room

Virtual audit room

KPMG LLP’s virtual audit room recreates the space where KPMG audit professionals would work together to help carry out audits effectively, in a remote environment. Working together with KPMG Clara, our virtual audit room allows a team to communicate, share and collaborate on files, execute the audit, and own their working norms.

Our virtual audit room is a new collaboration suite that has transformed today’s more remote KPMG audit experience.  With increased transparency and streamlined communications for our teams, our audits are more organized and efficient for clients while enabling innovation in the audit.

“The vision for the virtual audit room was to get us back to a collaborative mentoring environment, and away from the transactional, 30-minute meeting environment many companies pivoted to while working remotely,” one partner involved in our pilot program said. The virtual audit room technology provides the ability for real time conversations and knowledge sharing, which leads to a well-connected team.  “We also wanted to help establish a strong foundation for how we might enhance our ability to work remotely even after a return to the office. The virtual audit room accomplishes these goals.”

Using technology, our teams are able to increase access to lead partners and enable informal learning in the virtual environment, which is critical for sustaining team culture -- and we collaborate with clients on best practices from our virtual work environment so you can embark on this journey, too.

A more transparent audit experience

KPMG Clara

Part of our global smart audit platform, KPMG Clara, creates a streamlined audit experience serving as the single place for engagement teams and clients to exchange information, report and monitor progress of the audit, obtain audit insights via thought leadership, data analysis and visualization, and more.


There’s a lot to keep track of during an audit, from quarterly reviews and risk assessments, to control testing, substantive testing and walkthroughs—all in addition to behind-the-scenes planning and management of multiple teams, timing, and individual schedules. Historically, this has created challenges for our clients and our people.

In Action: For one team focused on a client with locations across the US, KPMG Clara’s PBC management and Task management tiles have brought considerably more transparency to the audit experience.

“Before, too many PBCs were delivered late,” the team’s senior manager says. “After implementing KPMG Clara for clients, this issue was significantly reduced.”

With management’s support and involvement, along with all of the information in one place – in a platform that is simple, intuitive and fit for purpose – the KPMG engagement team and our client could step back, understand the pieces, and meet deadlines in a more organized way.

This team expects KPMG Clara for clients to become even more integral to the audit and is now diving deeper into the platform to increase efficiencies across document exchange, collaboration, communication, and project management.  It’s all part of delivering a better audit experience for our clients.

Bridging distances with smart glasses

Smart glasses

When challenges arise, calling on a specialist is often the safest and most efficient path to a solution. But in a business environment where that subject matter lead might be housed at another plant or region – or in a pandemic when employees are largely working from home – the primary hurdle is getting that specialist in the room.


KPMG Global Audit Leader for Consumer & Retail, Allan Colaco explains that the use of smart glasses is akin to telehealth technologies. “While there are always going to be situations where a specialist is needed in person, triaging a situation can be a first step toward problem-solving. As industries from finance to consumer goods integrate more technology into their business operations, this move toward virtualization with fewer in-person requirements is the future.”

“This is bleeding edge technology,” adds Audit Partner Paul Patefield, who has worked with clients to explore the uses of smart glasses. “What it comes down to is getting the best person for the job to be present.” In remote inventory counts as conducted by many auditors, without smart glasses, the engagement team isn’t walking among the inventory themselves. But with smart glasses, they can be. KPMG sends the smart glasses to the inventory warehouse ahead of time, and everything the wearer sees and hears is streamed to the engagement team. As Patefield notes, “When we talk about inventory counts, we’re talking about increasing quality. Entire engagement teams with deep knowledge of products and systems can share sight and communicate in real-time with the individual walking through the warehouse – guiding them, directing them toward specific boxes, counting the sampled inventory themselves.”

The only limit is the imagination of the industry: IT auditors visiting data rooms. Advisors reviewing a company’s disaster recover plans. Repairs and maintenance. Surgery. Any application where you might benefit from bringing a specialist in to see what you see, is on the table with a technology like smart glasses.

Emerging technology videos

Deep-dive virtual sessions help clients realize increased value from their technology investments

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KPMG Audit Ignition experiences bring clients together with KPMG specialists to better leverage mutual technology investments. In this setting, we review our combined technology capabilities to optimize opportunities for enhancing quality and the overall audit experience.

For clients with highly sensitive data and a healthy dose of professional skepticism, we know that aligning our technology journeys requires confidence, communication, and demonstration of capabilities. That’s why we invite clients to a virtual Audit Ignition experience. 

For one multinational corporation interested in demonstrations and proof points before moving further, the KPMG team was able to walk through current uses of KPMG Clara for clients and solutions for journal entry analysis, as well as future possibilities optimized by increased access to data. 

Engaging with clients on tough questions through the Ignition experience -- even virtually -- brings the full weight of KPMG tech capabilities to the table. Moreover, with our interactive technology app, clients can seamlessly explore all our capabilities with a single touch.

Interested in how an Audit Ignition experience can unlock new potential for you?

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