Written by: Jack Holloway, Sales Enablement Executive
The pandemic has forced a number of changes to our working behaviour and patterns. With the majority of the accounting profession now working from home, and employers supporting this change going forward,1 accounting practices are having to adapt to more cloud-based solutions and storage systems to keep up with how workers are now fulfilling their duties.
Audit is no different. With audit teams ending up in the unfamiliar situation of working off-site for the majority of audits, cloud-based audit solutions are now more popular than ever. Many of the top firms have adopted systems and have been largely cloud-based for some time, but those that don’t have the spending power to develop their own software have had to explore the marketplace.
Desktop based solutions can feel safe and there may be a resistance to change. Staying on the desktop though, with more people working remotely, may mean that some teams struggle to complete procedures if the files are not stored in the correct location, causing delays to jobs.
Technology has moved on significantly in the last few years, with top methodology providers now working with software companies on moving into cloud applications.
There are a number of benefits to having a cloud-based platform with everyone working remotely:
With more audit firms using a cloud-based system, this is becoming the normal approach across the industry. Clients may think, given they are also working from home more, that not having a cloud-based solutions appear out-dated. Nowadays, everyone is using cloud storage file systems with GDPR compliance, so there could be resistance to simply using emails to send out data that requires extra levels of security.
Cloud-based audit solutions are often encrypted and house their own file storage managers to make the process easier for clients, as well as keeping that data secure.
Clients can share files more easily and everything is available in one place. This serves as a large timesaver for the audit team with all of the documents stored in an easy to find location.
Ease of access
With everything in the cloud, software can be accessed from anywhere. Audit teams can be located at home, at the client on-site, or in the office; everything is available with just a wi-fi connection. This allows firms to offer staff all of the benefits that working remotely brings.
Cloud-based solutions are also hosted online which means that there are no installations for your IT team to worry about. The only thing needed is a log-on and audit teams can then access the applications and any audit methodologies and templates straight away, making it easy to set-up for your firm.
No more updates
Audit systems are, by their nature, complex. There are a vast number of technical updates or software changes meaning that version updates are frequent, placing a burden on IT teams to install them for every user, or that new functionality is not available to audit teams straight away.
With a cloud-based system this is now applied simply to a server, resulting in teams having access to the latest features immediately, as well as any changes in regulations or methodology that is required. IT teams further reduce the amount of time needed to maintain the software.
Audit files are stored for you
Audit files are required to be kept after sign-off by ISA requirements to ensure that they can be reviewed if necessary. With desktop-based solutions, this would have meant you keeping the files somewhere on your server, or even paper!
With cloud-based solutions, audit files are stored for you online. They are on the software providers’ servers which are usually backed up every night and held securely with the relevant security measures taken without the worry for the audit firm. As well as all of these benefits, desktop software in general is slowly being moved away from by providers. As technology continues to change, cloud-based software is becoming easier to write and develop than before, particularly in a post-pandemic world. In years to come, moving onto a cloud-based platform may become a requirement rather than a preference as the desktop software that requires older operating systems on the machines is no longer used.1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56591189