Change Country

Tax & Assurance Guidance

How Remote Work Has Impacted Auditing

Posted on November 17, 2020 by

Dave Van Damme

Dave Van Damme

Share This

Auditing relies on two things more than anything else: having access and being in person. 2020 had other plans.

Forced out of offices and forbidden to travel, auditors and firms across the globe have needed to adapt quickly to the world of remote work and all the issues that come with it. Unlike other industries in which professionals can communicate with clients spontaneously and across mediums, auditing is a challenge because it requires meticulous planning, precise attention to detail, and very little room for error. Additionally, auditors work on schedules often set by stakeholders who require on-time reporting.

Despite the headwinds, the industry has adapted by forging solutions that meet the moment and allow continuity of the important work that clients demand. As the field stares into an uncertain future that will certainly include more remote audits, below are three impacts the shift will have on the industry, and how professionals can cope with them.

Planning Has Never Been More Important
Planning is a cornerstone of the audit process but comes with a new emphasis as auditors engage clients from a computer screen rather than face-to-face, with the reason being that remote audits simply take more time and preparation. One of the realities that the industry faces is that even though deadlines, for the most part, have remained the same, it is easier for clients and auditors alike to lose track of timetables when the work is done on a computer screen.

 Mapping a detailed strategy for a remote audit is one of the best ways to combat this. Firms must take on the role of managing deadlines and lay out, step-by-step, what will be needed and when. This involves outlining the required time, technologies, and personnel needed for the audit. In many cases, auditors will also need to factor in potential issues that may arise during a remote audit and the time it will take to solve them appropriately.

Communicating Remotely
Video conferencing and digital workflow tools have burst onto the scene across every industry, and auditing is no exception. Even though auditing is an in-person task by nature, many in the field who have been forced to work remotely have found that technology does an amiable job at filling in the gaps of the pandemic.

Tools like Zoom, Skype, and RingCentral have simulated the “real thing” to the best degree possible. The video conferencing tools allow auditors to meet one-on-one with key client stakeholders and gauge their body language and reactions in a way that is impossible over the phone. With the tools also being mobile, companies can take auditors on a virtual tour of facilities via the cameras on their phones, allowing almost the same level of transparency as someone would get if they were in person.

Workflow tools have also been key to filling in the gaps. Trello, Teams, and Suralink are tools that store information and materials in the cloud, where they can be accessed, edited, and commented on by any client or coworker, anywhere. Although there is no substitute for the dialogue that comes with in-person auditing, these tools have broken down many of the barriers that once made it necessary for auditors to be in the same room as their colleagues and their clients.

Security Infrastructure
Making sure that all the technology is secure is another task unto itself, and the steps to do so are another thing that has entered the sphere of remote auditing. With the increase in online reviews as a result of the pandemic, confidentiality and security have never been more important. It’s critical for auditors and firms to maintain the technology to protect sensitive information.

Firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), and dual authentication applications are a strong first step to increase security measures when working remotely. Creating and defining secure communication channels and cloud storage both internally and externally is also important. Ensuring that client information is protected during remote audits is a new frontier that the industry and everyone in it are tasked with addressing.

Contact Us
If you have any questions about remote audits and how to adapt to this new way of doing business, please call us at 248.208.8860 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Share This

Dave Van Damme

Shareholder, Advisory & Assurance

Leading the firm's advisory & assurance group, Dave supports closely held businesses with audits, financial reporting and fraud analysis.

Related Insights

Is Immediate R&D Expensing on The Horizon?

For the first time since 1953, taxpayers are not allowed an immediate deduction for R&E expenses and instead must capitalize and amortize such expenses. On March 17, 2023 a stand-alone bipartisan bill was reintroduced which would allow immediate expensing of R&D. Learn what this means for taxpayers.

by Sarah Russell

Section 174 Capitalization is Here

To the surprise (and dismay) of taxpayers and practitioners, Congress has been unable to repeal or defer the requirement to capitalize and amortize research and experimental (R&E) expenses under Internal Revenue Code Section 174.

by Sarah Russell

Meals and Entertainment Rules for 2022 Versus 2023

Understanding meals and entertainment expense deductions can be confusing. See the chart below for a summary of the meals and entertainment rules for 2022 versus 2023.

by Clayton & McKervey

The Sound of Automation Podcast

Industrial automation businesses are the driving force behind Industry 4.0, and Clayton & McKervey is here to help.

Skip to content