Audit is—inherently, inevitably, and undeniably—a conservative business. A process that’s been built up over decades; that’s been adjusted to crises and other, more gentle market changes; and that’s dependent on the ability to analyse data over time, isn’t something anyone wants to reinvent overnight. Yet the same forces that have kept the audit within a narrow evolutionary path, have also resulted in a market where differentiation is so difficult that regulators have to intervene to force clients to change auditors, and where manual processing persists long after it’s been automated in other industries. Audit firms themselves suspect they’re living on borrowed time. Digital technology has disrupted many industries: surely it’s only a matter of time before it changes audit, too?
To help answer this question, we surveyed 200 senior executives in US corporations. This report has been written for audit firms, but not by auditors. Instead, we’ve applied the expert understanding we’ve developed about the consulting industry to the audit world, in order to take an outside-in view of the way the audit market may develop in the future.