Even before the pandemic accelerated cloud adoption, almost half of all A&A firms had begun utilizing cloud-based technologies to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness. This is not a surprise, given the list of onramps to the cloud in the world of audit and assurance is growing every day – and it’s becoming so seamless it’s often unnoticeable.
But at the same time, most firms are a long way off from having majority of their workloads in the cloud.
For the sake of the audit, this should change.
In part 1 of our 3-part webinar series, The Path the Audit Transformation, we discussed the benefits of moving toward a cloud-based auditing ecosystem, which leverages modernized security protocols, and provides instantaneous, transparent teamwork and collaboration. Here are a few key highlights.
Key drivers that necessitate a proactive cloud plan
Using a range of poorly integrated desktop-based tools leads directly to inefficiency and inaccuracy, as well as host of other potential issues such as version control, protecting sensitive client data, dropped handoffs within the process and lack of transparency. It’s not surprising then that for many of our webinar attendees advancing to the cloud is still very much a work in progress:
Many firms have adopted cloud-based file-sharing tools such as ShareFile, DropBox, and Google Drive to better secure files and centralize client collaboration. Still, these advances have often been piecemeal, and most firms are still defining and developing more comprehensive cloud strategies.
The benefits of building a cloud ecosystem strategy
Cloud-based auditing ecosystems help firms avoid the above pitfalls in a modernized security environment. No more workpapers downloaded and saved to laptops. No need to keep sensitive data local, where it’s at greater risk of being compromised. No more wondering whether files are up to date and reliable – on the cloud, updates are instant and shared.
Working in the cloud also introduces enormous benefits to both internal and client-facing collaboration. No more endless back-and-forth over email. No more having to sync notes before communicating with clients on audit-related issues. In the cloud, people can see requests, comments, notes, and questions relevant to their role in real-time and within the natural audit workflow.
This is the type of environment that firms get with the OnPoint A&A Suite, which is built on the CaseWare Cloud platform – a single, centralized, secure online platform developed specifically for audit and accounting firms.
Change management strategies to help your team win in the cloud
Evaluating and implementing new cloud-based technology solutions requires effort and dedicated resources, including time and people with relevant skills. However, with thoughtful planning, firms can easily lay the groundwork for making a successful, nondisruptive transition to the cloud. For example, by gradually implementing and testing new capabilities into the audit workstream, staff have shown to be more receptive to changes – a critical factor in facilitating smooth transitions.
A clear, disciplined approach to change management is how transformation plans become an everyday reality in the firm. By building trust and communicating openly across the firm the team leading the transition can have a positive impact on firm-wide perceptions of planned changes.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend part 1 of our Path to Audit Transformation webcast series, you can view a full recording on-demand.
Also, be sure to save your spot for part 2 of our series, June 23rd at 2pm ET, where we will explore the ways in which firms can better connect the audit experience to improve audit quality and efficiency, starting with initial engagement acceptance and ending with final delivery of the audit report. [Sign up here]