Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Technology and Audit: Rising tide of tech floats all boats

Norman Marks, evangelist at SAP, neatly summarizes  in this 5 minute video the implications of the how the recent technologies, such as cloud, analytics, and the like has implications on the auditing profession.

As he notes, "if it's good enough for our clients, it's good enough for us" (i.e. us being the auditing profession).  He mentions how individual analysts and other business professionals are using tablets and other devices to perform analytics. He also cautions that we should not make the same mistake as we did when analyzing the potential for desktop computing. In the video he narrates an amusing anecdote about the reaction of the accounting firm that he worked at to the nascent, desktop computer in the 70s.

Although I agree with his comments, I would say that this also extends beyond the corporate IT environment I have written in the past about cloud and mobile tech and what I see is that these technologies favour the small and medium sized business (SMBs) over the large ones. Basically, SMBs can now afford enterprise class technology and are probably using this technology within their personal spheres. Hence the term "consumerization of IT": advances in technology are focused in the consumer space not the corporate IT Department. As illustrated by the use of the iPhone within the corporate IT, consumers brought or demanded that IT let them use the iPhone instead of the standard  issue (e.g. BlackBerry) smartphone. Furthermore, widespread familiarity with these technologies allows SMBs access to employees who know how to use these technologies - without specialized training. The sum of it: it is much harder for auditors to justify being low-tech, when even the employee of the SMB has gone high tech.

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