As practical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) are new to the finance space, especially with regards to audit, it’s no surprise that the same questions come up across our expert-led webinars. To help you understand how AI is applied to audit, we’ve collected the most common questions and answers here, as provided by our V.P. Growth, John Colthart.
Q: What programming skills or training are needed to use Ai Auditor?
Our goal is to minimize training to make the platform easy to use – a different philosophy from some of the old audit tools you may have used in the past. We designed Ai Auditor to be as user friendly as possible to help you get to maximum value as quick as possible, which means you need no programming or scripting skills to get things done. It’s all drag and drop actions, mapping your data, running the analysis, and viewing results in as easy a manner as possible.
Of course, we do recommend and include training on using the platform itself. Typically, that’s a kickoff with our customer success team to show you around the platform and help you load in that first data set. We give you a few days to play around with the data and reports, then set up a more focused discussion to help you get the most out of the results, such as understanding what control points do and what the machine learning algorithms are hunting for.
Q: Will Ai Auditor replace our existing audit tools or is it in addition to what we use?
The honest answer is that it depends on what you want to accomplish. If you’re just using a working paper solution to gather data to do quick assessments of a trial balance, our platform would absolutely be an addition to what you’re already using. You would use it to go even deeper into the analysis of the data and bring all our reports back into your working papers to have a much higher level of confidence. On the other hand, if you’re using a data analytics tool, especially a visual tool that doesn’t have machine learning built into it, Ai Auditor could potentially be a more effective and easier to use replacement.
We never say it’s one way or the other because every firm we work with has a different view of how technology supports their people and engagements and how they look at things from a line of business perspective, for example M&A, or all the way through to assurance audit and taxation.
At the end of the day, it really depends on the use case but one thing is certain, Ai Auditor is a tool used to help people be more effective at understanding data and gathering evidence, in the capacity that best suits their needs.
Q: Where does all the data that’s being analyzed come from?
We provide a drag and drop interface to load your data and integrate with the most common ERP systems used today, things like CCH Engagement, QuickBooks, Thomson Reuters AdvanceFlow, NetSuite, Sage Intacct, and more, to pull the various types of data we need. For something like accounts payable, for example, we use information from the ledger itself, including the payables register at the end of the period so we can see what’s outstanding and things such as the vendor name and the user hierarchy.
We also eliminate the need to spend time or IT resources on data extraction, manipulation, and ingestion – we take care of all the data heavy lifting so you can focus on the analysis and results.
Q: Does Ai Auditor help with audit planning?
This one is critical to understand: Our platform isn’t just for performing year-end audits, rather it plays an important role throughout the year, including planning. Our interim analysis is always available, going back to whatever period is available from the data, to help you see and understand how the business is transitioning at various points in time.
We support planning in different ways, such as looking at the data to identify and prioritize where you should be spending more time. It could be potential risk in inventories or accounts payable, or really anything that could influence your thinking around how the business is performing. Additionally, we also give you all those control points to show exactly what’s going on in the business and we can help you derive insights from the available data.
We want you to see and drill down into where the risks are at any point in the year, all for the same price as doing a single engagement at the end of the year.
Q: How and where is your data store?
MindBridge Ai cloud services are hosted on a secure cloud infrastructure, with our primary and backup providers fully ISO 27001 and SSAE 16 compliant. Our software stack is designed for defence in depth, deploying redundant controls in the infrastructure, network, platform, and application to ensure no single point of failure.
Q: How secure is the data?
Customer data is always protected, using NIST-approved algorithms (AES 256) and the most secure protocols and implementations available. All network connections are encrypted and all data stores, including primary and backup, are encrypted at all times.
Q: How do you control who has access to what data?
MindBridge Ai has zero access to your client’s data. We maintain SOC 2 compliance and we build in very high security around who can see and perform operations on various types of data, with different levels of hierarchical security. Each Ai Auditor customer has their own dedicated database and storage and there’s no interaction between customers or mixing of data.
At the end of the day, securing your client’s data is paramount and being able to secure that internally – who gets access to what pieces – is also of paramount importance for us.
Q: How do we use the results we get from Ai Auditor and include them as part of our overall processes?
Every report is available in downloadable format, whether it’s images from a screen or some form of data tables. For example, our data can be exported to a Microsoft Excel file and attached as a supporting document to your audit report. In fact, we highly recommend taking all the data we provide and showing them to your client, where it won’t cross independence lines, so they see you as the expert, trusted partner you should be along with the evidence to back it up.
You can also produce reports to share with your end clients including income statements, financial trending analysis, financial analysis, and more.
For more information on Ai Auditor or to book a demo, visit mindbridge.ai.