Thanks to technological advances, remote audits are becoming more popular among organizations. What was once an on-site activity, audits are now being carried out by remote techniques—especially with COVID-19 forcing organizations to work remotely for months on end.

Businesses have adopted high-tech strategies to allow audit teams to conduct interviews, share and receive data and conduct live data analysis without commuting to the audit site. Similarly, audit firms have expanded their remote audit procedures with advance technologies to enhance flexibility and improve overall productivity.

In this blog post, we analyze the benefits and challenges presented by remote audits:

Benefits Of Remote Auditing

Let’s look at some reasons why conducting remote audits is beneficial for auditing companies:

Time And Cost-Efficient

With today’s technological advances, data is accessible by a variety of means. The audit teams have tools like high-speed internet, cloud storage, teleconferencing, secure data-sharing platforms, smart devices and drones to obtain evidence, just they like they would on-site.

Since the team is no longer required to travel on-site, there is a significant reduction in time and money spent on commute.

No Need For Audit Logistics

Some audit locations are difficult to get to because they’re in isolated or restricted areas. In fact, in some cases, visas are required for international audits. The audit firm can avoid these difficulties with a virtual audit.

Remote audits also free organizations from managing logistics corresponding to audit team accommodation, including booking conference rooms, employee workflow disruptions and inconveniences that come with an onsite audit.

Obstacles Involved In Conducting Remote Audits

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has identified the following challenges associated with remote audits:

Not Approved By Some Accreditation Bodies

Most certification and accreditation bodies don’t have specific requirements for remote audits except for the ISO 19011:2018. This is because they still haven’t standardized the time required to collect reliable audit evidence.

Since audits depend on completeness, accuracy, reliability and relevance for each audit evidence, the certification bodies are still on the fence about remote audits.

Inventory Observations

Auditing standards require the auditors to visit the company’s facilities to observe physical inventory counting procedures and the control environment to see if everything is in order. This can become a challenge for auditors working from home.

Plus, auditors are trained to observe the dynamics and body language between co-workers during interviews to assess fraud risks and this may be difficult with virtual audits.

Auditor making notes of compliance to ISO standards

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