We partner with MindBridge Ai to create the next generation of audit for mid-tier companies and not for profits
MindBridge Ai has developed an artificial intelligence-based audit platform, Ai Auditor, for accessibility by accounting firms of any size and their clients. This is allowing us to apply increasing levels of data analytics and enhanced insights to the audit process.
MindBridge Ai Auditor is the next generation of audit process, making it more transparent, accurate and efficient.
“This is a new area for us. It is important for us to be able to offer the added insight and reassurance provided by the results of data analytics when we’re talking to clients,” says Peter Manser, Head of Audit and Assurance for Kreston Reeves.
Cutting edge machine learning and AI has been customised for the audit process, to learn from the transactions it is fed. Ai Auditor analyses all the data from a client’s account to categorise transactions as low risk, medium risk or high risk. This is a departure from manually conducted audits, which have traditionally been based on a statistical sample, exposing some auditors and finance teams alike to the risk of missing red flags.
“We’ve developed a series of algorithms, called control points, that can be as simple as decision rules or as sophisticated as the latest AI and machine learning techniques can give us,” explained MindBridge Business Development, Marketing & Sales Growth Operations executive John Bednarek. “This included interviewing leading auditors and accounting experts to tell us what to look for, and we built these algorithms based on their input.”
MindBridge is committed to explainable AI that is centred on human behaviour, so the accountant can easily view transactions on a central dashboard, click on any one and all the control points will be listed. That means an explanation is always shown for the risk classification each transaction has received. This has the real benefit of leaving more time for analysing the results and producing strategic advice on that basis – adding more value for clients, and more strategic insight for accountants.
“We shouldn’t be afraid of the changes that this kind of technology will bring,” Peter Manser says. “If anything, we are excited at the opportunities to apply higher levels of analytical skill and insight, as we roll this out to increasing numbers of clients.”
“The twin main benefits we have seen so far are an improvement in the quality of the audit, and in being able to offer something extra to existing clients. It was also attainable at a realistic price point.”
Kreston Reeves has now been using MindBridge Ai Auditor for 18 months, and we have already received positive feedback from clients. One of the benefits is the way the platform allows users to visualise data, producing graphs and reports which can be shown to clients at audit committee meetings to illustrate trends or issues. These have a specific focus, including visualisations on performance and on risk.
The AI can also perform trend analysis that covers several years. Client reaction so far is ‘the more of this, the better’, with the use of data analytics providing clients with further comfort over their finances – and the visual data provides an opportunity for discussion s about the shape of a business’s financials versus its forecasts.
Updating the audit process
MindBridge allows an initial period of time to get to know the system, known as Explore and Engage. This can be useful for firms who are about to take the plunge and start using this kind of technology for the first time, but are not yet sure what it can do. MindBridge also helps with on board training wrap-up after this period has passed.
Aspects of the programme can also be customised to suit the needs of specific firms. The MindBridge team believes this puts them ahead of competitors offering a one-size-fits-all solution, or offerings which have not yet been fully developed.
“We call this the democratisation of AI, meaning every accountant can use Ai Auditor,” says John Bednarek, of Mindbridge. “There is a lot of talk out there about competitors trying to put machine learning and AI into their products, but we haven’t seen that yet. We want to empower everyone to use AI – and many of our clients do – right out of the box. The AI revolution is here – now regulators need to catch up with technological developments.”
“The UK is top of the world for quality of audit, and it does influence the international auditing standards. But here is the dilemma, not just for us as a firm, but for everybody, – how do you fit this new technology into the existing frameworks?” says Peter Manser.
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