The audit profession needs the help of both people and technology to successfully transform for the future

27 April 2022

In our firm, audit has been at the heart of our business for more than 72 years, and we strongly believe that this profession is first and foremost about people. Without an engaged, qualified and diverse audit team, it is not possible to perform a value-added audit or to excel at what we do best; by caring about the organisations we audit and their stakeholders, we help build sustainable businesses.

And with our people being our greatest asset, we are constantly trying to find ways to support them, so that they will still feel that they want to be a part of this profession and industry. In February, we talked about the burnout syndrome, which has been a problem for a long time, and which in audit, it is strongly linked with the busy season. Now, we would like to focus on the solutions found, to support audit professionals, either by readjusting the audit function in a digital world or by paying attention to the human touch, the most important factor.

Choosing the right audit tools

One year ago, Mazars released the results of a double-blind survey, that had the purpose of identifying the perceptions and needs of various companies within the industry when it comes to audit and their current statutory auditors. Among the main conclusions, we found that the adoption of new audit technologies is favorably seen in the market with 96% of the respondents having positive views on this matter. Nevertheless, human skills remain very important for the beneficiaries of audit services - the so called “soft skills” are as significant as the technical ones. Based on the survey, the top five necessary skills that the auditors should possess include four that are “soft” (listening, discretion, proactivity, and creativity) besides rigorous thinking and a strong sense of organization.

Our vibrant community of innovators and tech experts allowed us to develop a portfolio of augmented services, that brought us enhanced experiences and added value to our clients, as well as new skills and capacity to our teams.

During this period, in audit, our professionals need to manage the inherent challenges of remote audits. Securely accessing client information and ensuring cyber security best practices, as well as analysing financial data to detect increasing instances of fraud, puts even more pressure on auditors. To best support our colleagues, we have developed a suite of tools within Atlas, our global audit platform, to enable the delivery of consistent and efficient quality audits that deliver value.

Mazars Atlas enables Mazars audit teams around the world to monitor audit progress from anywhere, anytime, and ensures that audit methodology is applied consistently and uniformly every day and, in every location, where teams are working.

Mazars Romania has also recently implemented the Mazars Signals platform, which facilitates the transfer of information by clients in a secure way, and allows for better collaboration with clients and teams, as well as real-time monitoring of audit status.

Three actions that companies took for a better mental-health environment

  1. They have opened the lines of communication. Once the COVID-19 pandemic came, employers understood very quickly that communication can create clarity, build resilience, and catalyze positive change. They have started with pulse checks, which are short messages sent to employees to ask two or three short questions about their work, life, mentorship, and health. Also, the meetings are always starting with: „How are you feeling?” or „Do you need a helping hand?”.
  2. They have made help available. In Romania, many companies have included mental health coverage in their health care packages. Whether we are talking about the employees who are parents and need a little guidance or if we are referring to a Millennial or Gen Z employee, who doesn’t really know how to deal with stress and emotions, a simple discussion with a professional can quickly change their thoughts.
  3. They are encouraging self-care. By allowing flexible working arrangements, offering courses on managing stress and time, and motivating employees to use their benefits (gym classes, massage vouchers, or free medical screenings), employers have started to understand and meet the needs of their people.

As the audit profession is evolving, we have to make sure that our professionals do so too, by listening to their needs, and offering them the best tools and solutions that we can find. Although technology will unquestionably play a greater role in the years ahead, we are a firm believer that people will be the ones to lead the audit profession of the future.