The Cloud has revolutionized the way businesses operate. It allows for flexibility, scalability, and efficiency like never before. Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. For professional audit firms, this means that the Cloud can provide a number of benefits that were not possible before. In this article, we will discuss ways how the Cloud can improve your professional audit firm!
Audit firms are able to use the Cloud for:
- Data storage and retrieval
One of the most useful cloud computing services is its ability to facilitate the storage and retrieval of data. Audit firms often need to process a large amount of data from a variety of sources. Documents, spreadsheets, and other supporting evidence are processed by auditors throughout the stages of the audit. Some documents can contain numerous pages, making it difficult for auditors to store and extract the information needed for later stages of the audit.
- Backup and disaster recovery
As an auditor, you are entrusted with your clients’ sensitive data. How can you protect it and guarantee its availability with all that important information at hand? A good place to start is by implementing a successful backup strategy that relies on Cloud. The security of a firm’s data is one of the most important concerns for any organization, regardless of its size. Considerations can include both loss and access, based on where the data resides and who has access to it. For audit organizations, the requirement to retain audit workpapers can compound the issue because retention requirements can range from 3 to 7 years.
- Collaboration among team members
Collaboration is a most prized business asset that can create strong business results. Today’s technology provides multiple ways your audit firm can work more collaboratively with its team members and get messages out to clients, potential clients, and other prospects. Cloud technology helps audit firms collaborate with their teams and clients. Cloud review software helps auditors redline financial statements and document potential issues during audits. Cloud can also be used by auditors to communicate with team members and clients by integrating communication and collaboration solutions like Auditproo, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and other cloud business applications into their audit workflow.
- File sharing
As an audit professional, your days are already busy enough. But by adopting the right tools, you can make your work easier and more efficient. With client confidentiality top of mind, auditors need a secure way to exchange large files with one another and with their clients. File sharing is essential to a successful audit practice. Everyone involved in the completion of a project needs access to a single, accurate, and up-to-date version of working documents. A cloud file sharing solution helps your audit firm achieve this goal with secure 24/7 access from any device, improved collaboration, and backup that you can rely on. Cloud computing has become an indispensable business tool allowing firms to access a constantly available, scalable, and secure resource. These capabilities create an efficient, cost-effective means of delivering professional services. Cloud provides an easy-to-use interface for uploading, organizing, updating, and sharing files. Your firm can use cloud file sharing to share files and collaborate anytime, anywhere with internal staff, clients, and third parties.
- Accessing software applications remotely.
Enabling mobility means audit firms can unlock new working and sourcing models and fulfil the promise of remote, flexible working. Cloud computing offers accounting firms the ability to access software applications from anywhere at any time. This makes services like hosted audits possible and allow auditors to work more efficiently when not in the office. One important part of transitioning to remote access for these services is to make sure that the audit firm’s entire team uses the same software platform — whether it be for hosting engagements, managing access or communication.
Cloud-specific solutions allow access to professional judgment-based audit software without installing the software locally on your PC or laptop. With a solution such as Auditproo, you simply sign in to the application and have access to the same user experience as with a local install. This approach reduces IT support requirements and is especially beneficial for seasonal staff who need remote access during peak periods.
- Streaming video and audio files
Many audit firms are weighed down by large and cumbersome servers, struggling to find the latest documentation and being hampered by version control. Rather than having all your assets locally, you can feel assured that your files are safe and secure on the Cloud. Imagine being able to watch training videos from any location, and share them instantly with anyone in the organisation. Streaming video and audio files means uploading them to a remote server, so that they are accessible via the Internet. The Cloud provides a simple and inexpensive way of doing this.
- Hosting webinars, meetings, and training sessions
Hosting webinars, training sessions, or even internal meetings can be a challenge for audit firms. When you’re running a distributed firm, it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on at each office and with your staff members. It can be difficult to find solutions that will give you access to the tools and features you need in order to hold productive sessions that can both train your team members and keep them up to date on important business activities. Your audit practice can use the Cloud to enhance how you educate your staff, share knowledge with clients and collaborate across multiple offices. Use it for training sessions, webinars, team meetings or to develop knowledge hubs that capture your firm’s hard-earned expertise. The Cloud is a flexible and easy solution to host your company events. Web conferencing solutions available through the Cloud generate substantial cost savings.
- Gathering real-time data for analysis purposes
Cloud computing and data virtualization are inventions that are making it easier than ever to pull intelligence from data. The first is the ability to pool processing power, increasing the usefulness of all types of programs, while the second is an intermediary that allows enterprises to fuse information from different sources. By combining these approaches, auditors are gaining tools for coping with operations and fraud in real-time. Cloud is not only good for storage needs and hosting your website, it is also useful when it comes to gathering data. For example, the Cloud can be used by an audit firm to collect real time data in a certain industry (i.e., restaurant business) instead of waiting for the accountants or auditors to meet with the clients or begin an audit. Using the Cloud allows the company to gather detailed data that wouldn’t have been obtainable if they started the audit later on. For example, based on transactions that happen at different times and places, costs, products and services sold, how much money was collected via cash or credit cards etc., can be collected immediately and analyzed later on.
Professional audit firms are now able to leverage the Cloud for user management, integration, central administration and scalability. By outsourcing certain aspects of the business with a cloud-based application, auditors can dedicate more time to their clients. It is evident that Cloud can improve audit firm efficiency and with plug and play tools such as Auditproo allow staff to work from anywhere at any time. This flexibility leads to increased productivity and a better work/life balance. Additionally, the Cloud can help audit firms save money on hardware costs, software licenses, and IT support. The Cloud is an affordable and efficient way to improve your professional audit firm.