Further to my previous post outlining the group of firms which has been discussing improving audit quality and efficiency by looking at innovation in audit data, I can report that the group has had a number of subsequent meetings – in a truly collaborative and inclusive manner. The group, drawn from the Big 4, Group A and APA firms has now had four in-depth working sessions, where it has debated and considered a concept called ‘Engine B’ to open up the audit industry through technology. Engine B was an idea initially born out of one of the Big 4 firms, but for it to be truly innovative and game-changing, needs to be opened up across the industry and cannot be driven by any one firm.
The premise of Engine B is that there should be an industry-agreed way to access client data, made possible through one set of common data models (CDMs), open and available to all audit firms, technology providers and service developers. The standardising of the data requests for the delivery of audit services will allow greater transparency, making it easier for technology providers, start-ups and other new entrants to bring innovation into the audit and accounting arena. These CDMs will be defined, agreed and managed by a cross-section of industry participants to ensure that they work across the full range of audit clients. In order to become the recognised standard for our industry and embedded in our ways of working, we will also open up discussions with audit technology providers to agree how these will interface with their data extraction interfaces.
The firms are now in a planning and mobilisation phase to understand the effort and resources required to deliver these CDMs; the proposed timescale for doing this is to complete as much as possible before Autumn 2019.
We will continue to share further updates over the coming months, but if you require any further details please contact me.