MindBridge is proud to sponsor this year’s virtual Digital Accountancy Forum. The forum brings together leading accounting firms, industry bodies and regulators, advisors and consultancies, law firms, and tech vendors to discuss and challenge key issues impacting the sector.
On top of providing an opportunity to connect and network all day through the virtual booth, the event will also see MindBridge’s Founder and Chief Impact Officer, Solon Angel, present on how AI can help auditors keep companies out of trouble in a session at 3:00 pm BST.
Packed with valuable takeaways, the session will give real examples of how AI-based data analysis, planning, assertion testing and more can drive better client conversations and give auditors the evidence they need to back them up.
Solon adds: “From Carillion, to Patisserie Valerie, to Wirecard, the audit profession is being blamed for fraud schemes, scandals, and financial collapse. At the same time, the industry is slow to consider radically different ways of performing audit, and has instead focused on automation of the old ways of doing audit. It’s time to enable auditors to do their best, by giving them the knowledge and tools they need to uncover the truth behind an organization’s finances and visualize data in a way that empowers leaders to take action.”
But how can this be put into practice and how can AI really help?
Join Solon as he explains how machine learning works to augment human judgement, providing a clear understanding of how firms, regulators, standards bodies, schools and technology vendors can work together to restore trust in auditors.
At the end of the discussion, you will have heard:
- Why AI offers much more than automation
- How data science augments an auditor’s experience and judgement
- How data analytics enables new ways of thinking and services for clients
- Why restoring trust must include everyone, from regulators and firms to schools and technology companies
There will also be the opportunity to hear our Director of Growth Europe, Stuart Cobbe, join industry experts on the closing panel discussion. This session will explore the future of the accountancy profession, touching upon:
- If globalisation will have an impact on developing the next generation of accountants
- How the industry can ensure the accountancy profession remains attractive to the younger generation
- What future technological changes are needed to increase the automation of accountancy
We look forward to seeing you there! Register your attendance here. You can also meet our UK and product teams at our virtual booth!
If you’re looking for tips on how to make the most out of attending a virtual event, take a look at these do’s and don’ts to get you started.
Yesterday saw the Digital Accountancy Forum return for the ninth year, but it was the first year our MindBridge team has been involved. The packed agenda, including a session from our Founder and Chief Impact Officer, Solon Angel and a panel discussion involving our Director of Growth Europe, Stuart Cobbe, was full of valuable insight celebrating the best and most innovative developments in modern accounting.
We were delighted to have many engaging conversations with delegates looking to find out more about MindBridge. In particular, our team spoke to numerous accounting professionals about the future of audit, what’s new in Ai Auditor, how AI can assess financial risk in times of crisis and why one of our customers, Moore Kingston Smith, a top 20 UK chartered accountancy and audit firm, is leveraging MindBridge’s Ai Auditor.
Introducing Ai Auditors
Solon’s session, discussing how AI can help auditors to keep companies out of trouble, was quite relevant in this Covid environment. Solon talked about what it takes to be an Ai Auditor, how data science can augment a human auditor’s experience and judgement, why data analytics and AI are slightly different, how they can enable new ways of thinking and why restoring trust must include everyone. It was a presentation packed with insight, takeaways and learnings for accountancy professionals.
Rounding up the session, Solon introduced the concept of Ai Auditors – human auditors that have been augmented with AI – with a great quote from Moore Kingston Smith about how working with MindBridge has enabled them to pick samples and look at different transactions in a more robust way:
“…if someone asks me why we have audited a particular sample, I can explain the computer-based technique which is a lot more robust than saying one of my trainees picked ten transactions…”
The future of accountancy firms
Towards the end of the day, MindBridge’s Director of Growth Europe, Stuart Cobbe took part in a panel session chaired by Jon Lisby, Director, Global Alliance Advisory Services, exploring where the accountancy profession is heading and what future opportunities might look like.
When discussing what the firm of 2025 will look like, Stuart added that accountants have been agile in their response to the pandemic, with a lot of changes underpinned by technology, enabling different ways to create and add value:
“The accounting or audit firm of the future will be more varied with its skill composition and it will be more agile in the way that it plans for its business. It will also be much more responsive to the needs of the market; less checklist-driven and more critical thought-driven.”
The new era of audit
We were thrilled with the volume of engaging and insightful conversations that our team had with delegates at the Digital Accountancy Forum. Commenting on the success of the event, Solon adds:
“The Digital Accountancy Forum was truly a great event, showing what can be achieved virtually! Every delegate we spoke to was keen to learn about Ai Auditors and how AI can really transform the audit process. We’d like to thank everyone who visited our virtual booth and attended our sessions – we’re already looking forward to next year’s event!”
If you didn’t get a chance to chat with one of our team members at the virtual booth but would like to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audit services are traditionally viewed as compliance requirements by regulators or a way to instill confidence with a company’s investors. As a result, the focus of the CFO might shift to minimizing costs and efforts in order to comply with the required audits.
During the limited interactions with the audit committee or the company’s CFO, how can auditors demonstrate their value as a trusted advisor that goes beyond traditional assurance to delivering valuable insights? How do auditors build strong working relationships with respective clients for future audit engagements?
Enhanced Audit Findings Reports or Presentations
Leveraging MindBridge Ai Auditor, the audit team can enhance their Audit Findings Report or Audit Committee Presentations to include visualizations, reports, and trends analysis to better communicate the work performed by the audit team. Reports can be tailored to include areas that are beyond formal requirements to areas that would be of most interest to the audit committee or that the CFO would be most concerned about. This helps create an open and data-driven dialogue with clients regarding their business and financial risk areas with related observations and findings.
As Ai Auditor uses business rules, statistical models, and machine learning to risk score each transaction, it allows the audit team to present the breakdown of high risk, medium risk, and low-risk transactions to clients, by percentage and dollar value. The risk can further be presented by specific accounts that could indicate a higher risk or a time period of higher risks. Stratifying this risk by time, Ai Auditor further breaks down risk by month, weeks, and days to identify unusual periods of activity. The risk graphs can be exported and used in any audit presentations to show clients where high-risk transactions are by account, time period, or any of their interests.
The Trends and Ratios functions help analyze key performance indicators and trends within the client’s business. MindBridge uses a proprietary implementation of an algorithm called SARIMA, developing an expected range based on the historical data of the company and comparing it to actual results to identify any outliers. This information is plotted onto a graph within the “Trending’s” tab that can be downloaded and incorporated in audit presentations. Key ratios such as Liquidity (Current Ratios, Quick Ratios, etc.), Profitability (Return on Assets, GPM, etc.) and Leverage (Asset turnover, Debt to Equity, etc.) can be computed and plotted onto graphics within the tool and then saved to be used as a part of the audit presentation. With multi-year data comparisons, audit teams can show their clients which key ratios are changing year over year or month over month. They can also identify any key ratio deviations and potential causes associated.
Better client discussions
Traditional Audit Closing meetings usually involve a presentation from the audit partner and team on the Audit Strategy, Audit Status, key audit findings, and any areas of interest. Given the limited time that the audit team has in front of the CFO or audit committee, technology such as Ai Auditor can be leveraged to articulate value beyond audit requirements to those of business insights and financial risk observations.
Using the Financial Analysis Template provided by MindBridge, Trends and Ratios can be used to explain key findings and trends related to the account of interest and. For example, Gross Profit Margin can be computed using Ai Auditor’s Trends functionality, incorporating SARIMA and leveraging multi-year data to develop an expected range of Gross Profit Margin within the data set. With multi-year data points showing on the same graph, auditors can identify and show any ratio outliers to clients.
These types of data-driven insights help client conversations to be more targeted. For example: “the gross profit margin for July 2018 is outside the expected range per our AI analysis. We identified the issues to be related to increased material costs during the first quarter of the year impacting the gross profit margin.”
Ai Auditor’s ability to risk assess 100% of the company’s GL data allows the audit team to show their clients the risk breakdown of their transaction data. By illustrating audit work performed to investigate these high-risk or medium-risk transactions, the conversation with the client can be enhanced to: “The audit team identified $100M in high transactions, which represents 27% of the ledger. The high-risk transactions were identified as related party transactions that occurred near year-end. Upon further investigation by the audit team, all related party transactions were reviewed, and no issues were identified.”
In addition, the Ai Auditor risk assessment can also be adjusted to show risk by account. Under the Reporting function, a report can be downloaded and imported into any audit presentation. The risk by account chart breaks down each grouping found within the ledger and risk associated with that grouping. From there, the audit team can show clients key areas of risk as it relates to a specific account.
Similarly, the risk can also be filtered by the users who are entering the accounting transaction. The client might be interested in a specific user, with most of their posted transactions identified as high risk. A high risk by the user could indicate a potential control risk: “We analyzed controls based on the user’s function and identified control issues for the following users: User 123, User XYZ, and User ABC. These users were sharing passwords and recording transactions outside of the scope of their duties. Further, we identified User 456 may lack the appropriate training based on the transactions being entered.”
Ai Auditor helps auditors to provide their client with more confidence over the organization’s financial information. Auditors can become trusted advisors for their clients by leveraging technology to identify risky transactions, areas of potential control risks, and any downward trends.
Being a trusted advisor creates an open dialogue with clients and can lead to other opportunities for the audit firm, such as risk advisory, accounting policy advisory, tax, forensics and more, all while keeping Auditor Independence in mind. With the power of machine learning and AI analysis, Ai Auditor can provide clients new perspectives of their businesses unlike anything they have ever seen before.
The world is changing and we’re all looking for ways to navigate the current crisis landscape together. That’s why we’ve partnered with Future Firm, Xero, Practice Ignition, Karbon, Float, and Ron Baker to offer you a chance to win a Digital Firm Assistance Package!
Valued at over CDN $13K, the Digital Firm Assistance Package provides the support, tools, and advice that allows your firm to try new technologies, learn from the experts, and plan your evolution to a stronger digital model.
This package includes:
- A one-hour consulting call with one of our resident CPAs to answer questions on how to adopt AI for advisory services, mapping to firm methodology, and how to pitch AI to clients
- 2 one-hour coaching calls from Future Firm to answer any questions you have about navigating a cloud-based accounting firm model
- A premium white-glove Xero Kickoff Call with their Regional Director, Partner Consultant & Account Manager to understand your firm’s online accounting needs & objectives plus 2 meetings with their Partner Consultant to create a tailored Implementation Plan that includes recommendations to help you achieve those objectives
- A free Xero partner account + special offers (which cannot be advertised) on Xero licenses based around the Implementation Plan
- A free Float Gold Plan (which includes up to 50 licenses!) for 1 year, so that you can provide your clients with automated cloud-based cash flow forecasting services when they need it most
- Karbon‘s premium, white-glove Full Service Onboarding service to get you trained and migrated to their cloud-based workflow management software in less than 30 days
- 25% off your first year’s Practice Ignition annual subscription to help you engage and onboard clients remotely
- A digital copy of Ron Baker & Ed Kless’ The Soul of Enterprise book
Every single entry receives some cool freebies, so check out the details on the contest entry page.
The Digital Firm Assistance Package will be awarded randomly to one firm by entering the draw below. Contest closes on April 21, 2020.
It takes a community to build and grow a company like MindBridge Ai. This ongoing series of articles highlights those leaders that are making an impact on our communities at large, and nurturing our technology ecosystem across industry, academia, and government.
We honor community leaders who are:
- Committed to making a difference in the world (one of the rules we live by)
- Passionate about equality and diversity, and dedicated to supporting underserved groups
- Engaged with industry, academia, and government to grow and build our technology ecosystem
Meet Cheryl Jensen, past-President and CEO of Algonquin College, as she discusses key drivers for economic development, how to build communities, and advice for young women interested in becoming business leaders.