The Rise of the Machines - Technology Audit: Data, Robotics & AI

Mitesh Parikh 02.02.2018

"Listen. Understand. That Terminator is out there. It can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with...it doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear...and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are audited."

Obviously I replaced dead with audited, but it has to be somewhat relevant to the audience of the blog.

As I watch one of my favourite movies of all time "The Terminator", I start to think about the way in which Technology is developing and, from an audit perspective, how firms are keeping up with this evolution.

An Automated Audit Future?

Data Analytics Audit has been around for many years, enabling Internal Audit Departments to move towards a more automated approach. It has been a game changer and has allowed Group Internal Audit functions to review the ordinary transactions of a business, downloading transactions from client companies and interrogating them much more efficiently and thoroughly. This area has started to get more interesting with the addition of machine learning.

But how has this changed the landscape of audit? In short, it has improved quality. Machines can simply do things much quicker and with a greater degree of accuracy compared to humans. Other benefits include; making the audit more effective and giving a more thorough insight into the chronological accuracy of a company's forecast and whether those forecasts can be trusted.

Technology Audit trigger word

The buzzword at the moment is "BLOCKCHAIN". Many in the profession are somewhat wary that Blockchain could actually make much more manual work that auditors conduct obsolete, such as balance reconciliation. However, the implementation of Blockchain is still at the early stages of R&D, and in actual fact many firms are looking at the ways that auditors can use the technology for audit enhancement instead. This will make the life of the auditor easier.

Auditing Robotics

What about robotics? Robotics Process Automation is changing the way in which transactions are processed. They are able to take on infinite processes across different areas, from financial to operational/production. Therefore, the role of the internal auditor is changing. With the use of robots there are risks. An example being that robotics and AI could learn the wrong instructions; they are not 100% free from error, as they are not yet fully sentient.

But what skill sets can be used to analyse and review the risks of robots? An auditor with an apps, infra or ITGCs background will not cut the mustard. We need Data Analytics Auditors. Reason being: many of the difficulties found in DA are applicable here, as robotics are enabling progression to be made towards fully automated decision making.

One such project Morgan McKinley are working on is with a Tier 1 Investment Bank who are looking for a VP to lead the Auditing of Robotics & AI. What they are looking for is a senior data analytics audit professional with excellent automation experience and an interest in developing experience within robotics & AI...Pretty exciting?

Keeping up with evolving technology

The adoption of evolving technology into Group IT Audit jobs is going to change the landscape of auditing over the next 3-5 years. Whilst I am not an auditor myself, I am excited by the opportunity and prospects that will present themselves to IT Auditors, Data Auditors, Business Auditors and SMEs outside of audit who are looking to gain experience within the Lines of Defence.

For more information on the IT audit jobs market and projects we are working on, please call us on 020 7092 0261. We love to chat about all matters relating to technology in audit.

Judgement Day isn't here yet, but when it does come, let's be ready.

Mitesh Parikh's picture
Principal Consultant
mparikh@morganmckinley.co.uk