Q&A: An Ex-Audit Associate’s Perspective on Audit software in the Cloud

This interview was conducted with one of our newest team members of the Customer Service team at Caseware Australia & New Zealand, Nahida Velona.

Q: Hello Nahida. How do you think customers would benefit if they started using a Cloud Audit product, specifically written for Australian auditors?
A: Firstly, the Cloud environment provides a much better and more secure IT infrastructure than most in-house networks. All your communications both internal between your team, and external with your clients are very safe, if you use the portal provided within the software. The Australian standards are imbedded in the product and can be referenced throughout your work. Depending on your answers to a series of prompts, the most relevant standards can be viewed and your audit documented most effectively.

Q: What excites you about the newest Cloud application, Caseware’s Agile Audit?
A: I think Agile Audit is a really innovative product which will assist in creating timely and quality audits. As someone who mostly dabbled in paper-based audit testing and processes in a previous life, I am excited about how Agile Audit helps automate the Audit process and provides an easy workflow to getting the audit documentation completed.

Working from home on laptop

Q: What is the most helpful aspect of Agile Audit, especially in the current working environment?
A: Agile Audit is completely cloud based, and this should really appeal to many auditors. I remember the good old days of carrying my heavy client files, which contained all of my testing workpapers, client documentation and audit evidence to the client office to complete my audit work. However, with Agile Audit there is much less physical paperwork involved.

I found manual processes to be quite burdensome, and with Agile Audit, all I would need is an internet connection to start my work. This would help increase productivity and efficiency, as all the audit documentation including copies of contracts and other PDF files, can all be stored electronically within the audit file. This aspect is particularly helpful for anyone working remotely.

Q: What else does Agile Audit bring to the table to assist with conducting an efficient audit?
A: I am sure all auditors can relate to how difficult it can be to request audit evidence and information from clients sometimes. As an Audit Associate, I have requested information from clients over email, in-person and over the phone and there has been many a time when I received a horde of emails with information from clients. I was even given photocopies of the information requested in person! This made it quite difficult for me to keep track of information I was being sent. I would have to trawl through my inbox looking for a particular piece of information that a client had sent.

Sometimes, you work on multiple audits at the same time, which makes this process even more complex and prone to errors. Agile Audit has made it so much simpler for auditors to request information from clients with a very nifty feature called the ‘Request for Information’. Auditors can use this secure collaborative tool to request information from their clients. This feature not only ensures that all information sent to auditors remains secure and confidential, but also helps maintain a clean audit trail. This process is all done within the engagement files and client access portal. No more overflowing, potentially insecure, email inbox trawling looking for an obscure file!

Watch the chat between Nahida & Caseware Australia & New Zealand CEO, Craig Waldon (Duration; 5 mins)

Q: What other challenges does Agile Audit being on the Cloud, assist with?
A: I am really excited about the sampling selection feature. Agile Audit has the ability to import transactions such as general ledgers and the transaction listing. This feature makes detailed testing so much easier! All auditors would need to do is choose the sampling method they would like to use and specify their sampling size parameters. Agile Audit then generates the samples based on the parameters at a click of a mouse (which can then be exported to Excel for future reference or discussion).

Auditors can bypass the need to sort their transactions in Excel and highlight their material transactions manually, by using the Sampling Selector feature in Agile Audit thus saving a lot of time!

Q: What is challenging right now for auditors?
A: Auditing remotely, or safely in a pandemic is problematic. The restrictive business circumstances also impact the economic situation of many entities. Auditors need to make sure they exercise professional scepticism rigorously. There are many excellent references provided by the professional bodies and standard setters and large accounting firms. These will be invaluable to be able to audit during 2020 and beyond.

Q: So, in summary, why would you recommend Agile Audit?
A: Overall, I think Agile Audit is an innovative and flexible software that streamlines audit processes and promotes quality audits. There are references to the appropriate ASA standards in each document so that compliance to those standards could be ensured. I am sure many of our customers will be able to embrace the technological benefits of using Agile Audit to complete financial audits more efficiently than ever before, even working remotely!

Nahida from the Customer Service Team

About Nahida:
My first job as a fresh graduate when I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance was as an Audit Associate for a large well-known Audit and Financial services firm. It was a great learning experience, and I have not only assisted in many audits, but have also completed smaller sized audits on my own.

This work experience, along with undertaking Audit related study modules during my Bachelors and Masters degrees have given me a solid understanding of financial auditing, which helps enormously with my work in the Customer Service team at Caseware Australia & New Zealand.