Future of technology

We are seeing rapid digitisation of our society and our lives, where we all seem to be creating data in unimaginable quantities. In 2020, record amounts of data were created due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people worked and learned from home. More data was produced last year than in the previous 5,000 years of humanity[1] – and over the next five years up to 2025, global data creation is projected to grow to more than 180 trillion gigabytes[2].

New and disruptive technologies are emerging at a rapid pace. Blockchain, the cloud, robotic process automation (RPA), digital labour, machine learning, deep learning, quantum computing, voice recognition, Internet of Things (IoT), virtual or augmented reality, computer visioning, natural language processing (NLP) – all of these have immense potential to change how business operates[3]. The pace of technological development will be faster than anyone can imagine.

These technologies will have implications for an audit in the future, too. The impact they will have – and are already having – can hardly be overstated. In the analogue world where accounting was done with manual tools like physical ledgers, the auditor would validate processes and transactions using statistical sampling methods or other similar techniques. In today’s digital world, where data is proliferating across digital networks and systems, we are bringing new capabilities to mine the mountain of data to identify audit risk, highlight anomalies and outliers, and perform further analysis. These capabilities allow auditors to focus on key risk-driving items rather than painting entire populations with the same brush strokes, thereby giving clear value to the items being tested.

New technology is dramatically enhancing the analytical power of an audit. Using RPA, auditors can analyse 100% of populations through various lenses. This means that we can quickly identify the outliers that need further examination, enabling auditors to check the accuracy of financial statements much faster and in much greater detail than ever before.