Audit & Analytics
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Tom Faraday
Senior Director, Product Management

Using technology for enhanced audit efficiency and strategic insight

June 24, 2024
0 min read
Audit professionals discussing tech

Modern Governance Summit 2023 (now known as Elevate) played host to over 600 GRC professionals and industry leaders who offered expert opinions and insights into what's next in GRC. Throughout the conference, many agreed that chief audit executives (CAEs) are now leading the charge in a more extensive array of vital areas, from environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles to cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. Here, we provide a summary of last year's executive brief on audit, Elevating audit with strategic technology: Navigating audit's transformation from reactive to proactive.

Acknowledging the audit function's pivotal role as an impartial assessor of internal processes, business leaders are increasingly seeking that audit teams provide thorough examinations and insights into intangible areas such as:

  • Climate and sustainability
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
  • Human capital management
  • Cyber resilience

To meet the demands of a dynamic regulatory landscape, organizations are looking to internal audit to foster a culture of compliance.

Yet, business leaders are not only looking for data from audit; they are looking for clarity and insights that can help them make strategic decisions. To meet these growing expectations, audit teams need to embrace technology and transform the way they work. By centralizing data, standardizing processes, automating where possible and using advanced analytics, audit teams can provide real-time insights and become strategic advisors to the board and C-suite.

Key trends shaping the future of internal audit

As internal audit continues its journey of transformation from a compliance function to a strategic advisory role, several key trends are shaping its future. These trends highlight the evolving priorities and expectations placed on audit teams in today's business climate.

  1. Expanding focus: The scope of audit teams has expanded considerably. ESG principles are now within the purview of nearly all audit teams, with a projected 50% increase in attention to climate and sustainability. Cybersecurity, a critical area, has been acknowledged by 96% of audit leaders as a top priority.
  2. Speed and agility: In the current fast-paced business environment, speed and agility are essential for success. Audit teams must keep up with the pace of change, providing on-demand visibility and real-time insights to support informed decision-making. Over 90% of companies aim to achieve continuous compliance in the coming years, underscoring the need for audit to adapt to this new paradigm.
  3. Doing more with less: Yet, despite these heightened expectations, audit teams are often faced with resource challenges. Economic uncertainty has led to cost-cutting measures within businesses, which means audit teams must find ways to improve their reporting capabilities without a significant increase in their budgets.
  4. Shift from reactive to proactive: To satisfy the expectations of stakeholders, audit teams must transition from reactive reporting to a proactive, prescriptive approach. This transformation necessitates the use of technology to modernize audit processes and to provide immediate insights that empower assured business decisions.

Building a modern audit function through technology

Embracing technology is essential for audit teams to effectively adapt to a changing environment and enhance their strategic advisory role. A technologically empowered audit function can significantly improve capabilities despite resource limitations, thereby delivering greater organizational value. Centralizing audit data into a single platform enhances visibility and streamlines processes, facilitating better management of audit programs and integration of analytics.

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Standardization of processes, especially for intangibles such as ESG and sustainability, is crucial. By aligning with emerging standards and consistently quantifying these metrics, audit teams can ensure reliable reporting and enable efficient automation. Additionally, modern audit platforms leverage AI and machine learning to provide standardized templates and automated workflows, which enhance flexibility and efficiency.

Download our full brief to discover our 4 steps to modernize audit technology.

Achieving continuous assurance: The future of audit

The future of audit is continuous assurance, moving away from annual or bi-annual compliance exercises. This new standard demands on-demand information on the progress of key initiatives, focused insights for strategic adjustments and data-driven validation of essential strategies.

To achieve continuous assurance, audit teams must provide the clarity that empowers confident business decision-making. The right technology can help create a synergistic effect that amplifies the impact of audit. Centralized visibility, standardized and automated benchmarking, and actionable analytics empower audit leaders to foster a strategic partnership with business leadership, characterized by trust and influence.

Audit teams are in a unique position to provide critical support. By integrating technology and adopting a strategic mindset, audit can move beyond a compliance role to become a trusted advisor, offering insights that are key to business success.

What will you discover at Elevate 2024?

If you liked what you read in this recap for audit professionals from last year's event, join us for Elevate 2024 (formerly Modern Governance Summit) in Houston this September 8-11, 2024. As the premier gathering for industry leaders, innovators and governance experts, this year’s summit aims to equip administrators, governance professionals and board members with insights and expertise on how to use our solutions more effectively.

With opportunities to earn continuing education credits and make valuable connections with your peers, there’s every reason to secure your spot now. Prepare to be inspired by industry leaders and gain invaluable insights and equip yourself and your team to make the most of Diligent product features.
Register today to secure your spot at Elevate 2024.


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