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Getting the value proposition right

Publishing Date : 11 February, 2019

Author : THEUNS HOLTSHOUSEN

Change today is constant and continuous, and futurists must update their predictions more frequently. Technology is driving this fast-paced change, transforming industries and professions—including auditing and accounting. However, auditors and accountants must look beneath the surface to understand the real challenges and opportunities implicit in new technologies and what they enable.


Automation is a case in point. It is estimated that robotics and artificial intelligence will replace up to 5 percent of all jobs globally by 2020, even disrupting professions, like journalism and law,that previously seemed immune to this type of change. There is no doubt that automation is already changing the face of auditing and accounting. Intelligent software brings the intellectual capital and best practice that used to be reserved for the Big Four within the grasp of even the smallest firms, and it can streamline complex processes to improve profitability while enabling the delivery of better value to clients.


It’s no exaggeration to say that technology has provided finance professionals with an unprecedented set of opportunities, and levelled the playing fields for financial services firms. For most accounting and auditing firms, the decision to automate has probably already been taken. But, as always, to achieve the real benefits, they need to spend a lot of time understanding what the real opportunities are.


The first decision to make is whether the firm should develop its own solution or not. We should remember here the trouble that many companies got into by deciding to develop their own enterprise resource planning systems, or to customise packaged solutions like SAP or Oracle extensively. They found themselves with increasingly unwieldy and poorly documented pieces of software, which proved to be a nightmare to keep updated in line with new developments in: technology; industry standards, and regulation.


Adopting the “build your own” approach also invariably means that companies simply digitise their existing processes, rather than taking the opportunity to transform the way they do things in line with industry best practice. To make a substandard process more efficient is to miss out on the real potential of automating, which is transformation.


All of this makes a cogent argument for auditors and accountants rather to tap into the benefits of using existing global solutions that have been developed by leading experts, and that are in line with global regulations and best practice. Of course, it is also critical to choose a solution that has been localised to take account of regional standards and regulations. 


By following this route, a firm will not only gain the benefits of efficiency from automation, it will immediately be placed on a par with the best the globe has to offer. Generally speaking, such packages should enable a trial balance from any accounting system to be integrated and allocated to compliance-reporting categories. From there, it should be able to produce a set of financial statements instantly. It can also be set up to consolidate company data with true aggregation and elimination capabilities. This information can be furnished easily as frequently as required.


Additional reporting requirements can be added to the automation template as needed. In short, purchasing a software package is a way to marry improved productivity with enhanced quality—thus creating new opportunity for the accounting or auditing firm. For its clients, the ability to access up-to-date, accurate financial information in specified and useful formats easily adds considerable value beyond the audit; it provides the basis for informed decision-making about the future of the business.
About CaseWare Africa
 

CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, is the global leader in auditing and financial reporting software and is used in over 130 countries worldwide. Our 20 000 users across Africa, consist of audit and accounting firms, government entities, municipalities as well as large blue chip companies.


CaseWare is the undisputed leader when it comes to compliance. Our leading content providers ensure you are always compliant with the latest disclosure requirements on ISAs, IFRS, IFRS-SME, GRAP and IPSAS. Our world-class products are not only designed to deliver on our compliance promise, but ensure quality results, increased effectiveness and improved profitability.

Theuns Holtshousen is Business Leader, CaseWare Africa

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