If you were to design the audit of the future, what would it look like? In a profession that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, the DeloitteAudit applies design thinking principles to better understand client needs and harnesses the power of a new generation of technology, content, professional mindsets and behaviours to cut through complexity, identify risks and design a highly effective audit. In changing the way that audits are conducted and presented to clients, it is helping to change the way the world sees auditors.
We have re-designed our approach to getting under the skin of a client’s business to make it more interactive, driving deeper understanding and empathy of client challenges and audit risks. Clients are directly engaged in a workshop for audit teams to better understand relevant areas of the business such as how the finance function operates and how tax is managed. We engage in two-way conversations to understand an entity’s environment, strategy, individuals, systems, controls and processes. This helps our teams focus on what really matters, design audit responses to risk areas and generates a richer understanding of the client’s business.
Understanding and interpreting data is at the core of any audit. Cutting through the noise to find meaningful insight is challenging. The DeloitteAudit is designed to analyse data through different lenses to understand it better and also to present the data visually. This helps our auditors both design their procedures more effectively and communicate more powerfully to our clients. The visual story enables us to share our understanding of audit risks with our clients and helps them to see what we see about their businesses.
Auditing and financial reporting topics can be complex. Communicating audit findings in a simple and meaningful way that changes the capacity of our clients to act is a focus of the DeloitteAudit. By combining data visualisation techniques, understanding of the business and asking our clients what is most important to them we provide clarity on complex issues. We workshop our audit findings with our clients rather than just present them with a report to read. Clients can drill into their own data to discover new meaning or see visual content in Board Reports stimulating conversation at the Board table.
Traditionally, auditors will spend the execution phase of the audit out on site. The audit room will be full of practitioners data gathering and documenting onto their laptops. Their work is invisible to the client. The DeloitteAudit makes the work of auditors visible, using workshopping techniques to bring data to life in the audit room on flipcharts, post-it notes and butcher paper. An audit client can enter the room and easily see both progress and understanding. This fosters greater interaction where auditors and clients can more easily discuss areas of work and deepens both understanding and professional scepticism.
Recognising that the key to a differentiated audit is the mindset of the auditor, the DeloitteAudit includes a field guide manual of ’10 Ways’, which has been designed to provide practical guidance to those audit professionals implementing the principles of the DeloitteAudit; from the first interaction with a client, through execution to reporting and on-going interactions outside the audit cycle. The Ways are designed to shift the culture of how Deloitte audits are conducted, by encouraging our auditors to plan more thoroughly, communicate more frequently with the client and each other and practice greater professional scepticism.