Guidance For Auditors During The Coronavirus Pandemic

How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry

These led to an increased demand for internal auditors to check for any data inaccuracies. Thus, there is no need for in-house accounting services to worry about getting replaced by bots. Most services in the accounting industry are vulnerable to disruptions . Among the inflationary factors that were of top concern for accounting firms in 2020 were the cost of raw materials (39%) and labor costs (31%) . There is a need to reshape organizations given recent developments. These future trends in the accounting profession reflect these developments. Aspiring professionals in the field have to take to heart the emerging accounting trends and techniques to make inroads in the talent market.

You can’t risk your competitors offering clients services you aren’t prepared to offer. Keep your finger on the accounting community’s pulse to stay ahead of the curve and utilize the advantages of being the first to meet market demands. Karbon was the only tool built for specifically for accounting firms that was included in the top 10 tools identified for both team and client communication by survey respondents. The accountancy profession must be cognizant of the mindfulness required to act competently, with integrity and due care, and to be objective in exercising judgments without being compromised by bias. As such, professional accountants must be conscious of issues colleagues could be facing—and not talking about—that might impact judgments and ethical decision making.

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In the past decade, the professional services industry has transformed significantly. Digital disruptions, increased competition, and changing market … One interesting development has been the strengthening of international connections as accountants overseas reach out to learn from UK best practice, and UK accountants and practices establish international offices or partnerships for the very first time. Despite such unprecedented obstacles, 2021 has given cause for optimism.

Some firms plan to downsize office space because of their reduced need for physical space. Since the COVID-19 virus first appeared, the world as a whole has been swept up in a whirlwind of social, political, economic, and spiritual change. In over two years, the pandemic has upended our lives and altered the way we live and think. Group auditors need to consider how they plan to review component auditors’ work to meet the standards’ requirements. This should include considering whether alternative procedures should be used, for example, where travel is restricted. Participants earn a graduate certificate in accounting with digital analytics and can go on to obtain a master of science in accounting with cognitive analytics.

Suddenly, businesses are reimagining their business operations to engage clients, suppliers and regulators. With the closing of workplaces and the need for physical distancing, auditors are leveraging existing and new technology to conduct audits remotely, from remote data extraction and analysis to inventory counts using drone technologies. And these new ways of operating need to be done in a way that adheres to established standards and delivers assurance to stakeholders. Our clients need help designing, organizing, and then analyzing the data created by these nonfinancial information systems. Marketing research, advertising campaigns, sales funnels, service funnels and all the information important in providing customers with the user experience that the Omni Channel Customer Experience demands. Coordinating financial and non-financial information systems in order to provide the results our clients require involves an inter-disciplined approach. Accountants are better prepared to work with marketing data than marketing executive would be to work with accounting data.


Prior to COVID-19, United Kingdom-based firms had the lowest percentage of remote workers, with just 25% working from home. This figure jumped to 94% during COVID-19, suddenly making the United Kingdom home to the biggest percentage of remote workers in the profession. BDO USA, LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms.

  • “Technology became indispensable in doing business as both employees and clients isolated and prioritized their health,” Philip Liberatore explains.
  • Over the past two years, KPMG has also been working on risk assessment tools that layer machine-based learning — which is a subset of artificial intelligence — on top of rules-based algorithms.
  • This continues to be required to be able to report or consider modifying the audit opinion.
  • COVID-19 accelerated change and forced us to reconsider the role of professional accountants.
  • Some stated that their firms moved staff out of cubicles and into individual offices for social distancing.
  • While the future of audit shows promise, there are still challenges ahead.

According to a 2020 survey published by Arizent, 85% of CPA firms will allow their firms to work from home even after the pandemic . Still, with technological advancements and the emergence of computerized accounting systems, accountants working from home are able to produce excellent results in their work as those in office settings. Just as big data plays a crucial role across many sectors, it fills the same significant role in the accounting industry. Big data supports companies and firms through expanded assessment methods, with accountants and finance experts working behind the scenes.

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On the other hand, restrictions on in-person business dealings and a growing preference among clients for digital communication accelerated a shift that was already underway in the accounting industry. “Technology became indispensable in doing business as both employees and clients isolated and prioritized their health,” Philip Liberatore explains. The business environment in which the broader accountancy profession operates has gone through unprecedented changes. Such changes have implications on employing organizations, the internal operations of firms, the clients they serve, as well as the nature of certain client interactions and relationships. For professional accountants to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct, and where applicable, be independent, they must remain alert to new information and changes in facts and circumstances. For example, think about public companies that link the finance team’s compensation to the organization’s performance. Another significant change has been the shift to remote and, more recently, hybrid working models, with industry polls suggesting that tax and accounting professionals expect to continue enjoying this flexibility in the future.

How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry

Together with PitchBook, we give you the focused insights to take advantage of the trends. Jennifer Wilson, the leader of Convergence Coaching, says that technological advance combined with changing client demand will lead the remote audit to become the norm. CPAs and clients alike learned to work with each other from a distance, and that will add a level of flexibility going forward that will benefit everyone. Businesses will come to rely on their accountants outside of more traditional meetings and scheduled reports, and CPAs will be able to answer the bell from anywhere if needed.

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77% of UK-based accounting professionals expect to work from home more often after COVID-19. The overwhelming majority of accounting firms have risen to the coronavirus challenge. To grasp the full impact of COVID-19 on the industry, we surveyed almost 1,000 accountants across 20 countries. They told us how their firms have been affected, how they are adapting to working remotely, and what they want to see happen next.

  • The nature of any material non-adjusting event and an estimate of its financial effect must be disclosed by way of note.
  • Making conscious, well-informed decisions is not easy, especially when there’s a lot on the line.
  • It’s essential for the auditor to use professional judgement and scepticism.
  • Thousands of government scheme applications means accountants face extreme pressure to submit clients’ claim on time Read More…

The profession will need to further invest in professional competencies regarding technology and information systems. Related to that are concerns around capabilities and learning for new talent, who might be at a disadvantage stemming from a lack of in-person interaction with more senior colleagues. The impact of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, taking a tragic toll on human life and causing volatility in the global capital markets. Many companies are being forced to address the impact on their businesses, including accounting and financial reporting implications.

Case Study: Both Accountants And Clients See Benef

Although RPA is changing the face of accounting firms, it is important to remember that it will not eliminate human accountants. Because RPA reduces transactional data processing, accountants can focus on delivering higher-value financial analysis to help clients make better business decisions. Firm leaders will continue to focus on RPA solutions that keep up with the changing accounting landscape and serve as practical tools to manage repetitive tasks that cause operational inefficiencies. Employing organizations must become ever more diligent and innovative in transitioning back to in-person work. It is critical to consider architecting hybrid or virtual protocols that consider best practices, including for example, data hosting and management functions while faithfully abiding by ethical obligations.

How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry

This is just one example of the very practical applications in our curriculum, so students can experience how a subject works and how it is applied. Our skillset, which is about reporting and attesting to the accuracy of information, applies to all types of information, not just financial information. The skills we have are very broad, and we shouldn’t think about them narrowly. Whether it’s non-GAAP measures for financial results, or with sociability information, or environmental information, or governance information, or whatever, we need to own that space. We should help craft what it is, and we should be the ones to add credibility to that information. If, for example, you decide on a model of either a hybrid or 100% remote firm, you should establish a protocol on issues such as work from home, document delivery, and communication with clients. You should also ensure that you have the proper infrastructure and technological tools to support the decision you make.

Trends Shaping The Future Of Audit

Not only will customers continue to demand more agility from CPAs, but there will always be rapid changes that require accountants to think on their feet. CPAs stood tall when the challenge arose in 2020, and the pandemic only made them more able to face any new obstacles in the future. Intellectual curiosity about the latest technologies and their potential application are critical for accounting firm executives to lead their teams, advise clients, and sustain a competitive advantage. Today, Hood says he is concerned that accounting firms are reverting back to their old operating models.

Auditors may need to consider developing alternative procedures to gather sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support their audit opinion, or to modify the audit opinion. In this context, perhaps the most exciting issue is critical because the global economy is affected by this pandemic; several studies on Covid-19, global finance, and how accounting response is essential to discuss. We hope that the work reported here will inspire new and ongoing research efforts in finance and accounting, particularly in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. The degree to which the virtual environment and other changes continue after the pandemic will be driven by client needs and technological capabilities.

But our survey demonstrates that we adapted quickly—and in the midst of last year’s tax season, when the pandemic hit us with full force. Like many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has made a lasting impact on accounting. Many of us found ourselves scrambling to conduct business in new ways with new technologies, just to survive. The following resources, assembled by the IAASB staff, have been included to help our stakeholders, and the larger accounting community, navigate some of the challenges ahead. This content outlines initial considerations meriting further consultation with life sciences organizations, healthcare organizations, clinicians, and legal advisors to explore feasibility and risks. Since early March, all meetings of the advisory and consultative groups of the IFRS Foundation have been held remotely, with observers and participants alike videoconferencing in.

Communication Is Key

Now, in a volatile economy where some industries are experiencing unprecedented hardship and others are poised to grow, the need to maintain this confidence is more critical than ever. This publication was developed by a Working Group formed by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants and national ethics standard setters from Australia, Canada, China, South Africa, the UK and the US.

And the majority of those have started working from home full-time. By transitioning your systems to the cloud, you are ensuring the flow continues even when access to your physical office is limited or completely restricted. By moving your systems to the cloud, you can eliminate the need for on-site access and ensure you can use your data easily, whether for financial accounting purposes or in order to make better-informed business decisions. BDO Institute for Nonprofit Excellence Innovative solutions to nonprofit organizations, helping clients position their organizations to navigate the industry in an intensely competitive environment. Accountants have always been in demand, serving an important function for successful companies. Now more than ever, the business community will look to accountants for their analytical insight and their stewardship of corporate finances. While the path ahead for the economy is uncertain, the role of the accountant as a critical business leader remains crystal clear.

Compliance with International Standards in Auditing should continue in full, even under pressure of changed timelines. In addition, auditors should step back and consider looking further to respond to the particular auditing challenges that the coronavirus’ causes for companies How The Pandemic Is Affecting The Accounting Industry and their reporting. The reality is that these new technologies and expectations are evolving rapidly, requiring auditors to constantly upgrade their skills and approach. KPMG is upskilling auditors to meet these demands through a program called Digital University.

The role for auditors is evolving based on the need for trust and assurance. Auditors are being called on to assure ESG issues, non-GAAP metrics and technologies — the digitized controls — that collect, process and store data, such as blockchain ledgers. Trust and the increasing use of technology are driving changes in the work we do, how we do it and how we upskill our professionals. Auditors should consider how to gather sufficient appropriate audit evidence.

For smaller firms, offloading processes could be a valuable course of action Read More… Join small businesses across the country who are already managing their payments online with Melio, saving both time and busywork. Join thousands of small businesses across the country who are already managing their payments online with Melio, saving both time and busywork. Following the steps above will help your firm secure a better footing in the post-pandemic accounting world and propel toward growth, efficiency, and profitability.

Accountancy, especially in business processing outsourcing companies, is also becoming a highly esteemed career all over the world. This is particularly true with technologies such as cloud-based data management, process automation, and advanced analytics, which are only adding value.

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