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Top 5 Methods In Which Cloud Steps Up Your Audit Engagements

Cloud computing has proved to be an efficient means for audio and video sharing. But is there any way in which it can be beneficial for your audit team too?

People think that cloud services are used mainly to maintain the security of sensitive information. This is just a misconception. Practically, cloud enhances productivity, efficiency and security.

According to the KPMG survey in which 800 technology leaders participated, cloud computing is playing a crucial role in driving business transformation for businesses and 49 percent of participants stated that the cloud is the best way for businesses to drive cost efficiencies.

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The same is implemented for the accounting firms, when we talk about audit activities. As per the Journal of Accountancy’s MAP Survey, the usage of cloud-based systems has increased upto 66 percent within two years, used by 59 percent and 77 percent of firms with $5-10 million and $10 million + revenue, proportionately. Undoubtedly that number is rising exponentially.

Those audit practices that are still working on outdated or desktop based solutions to manipulate data has come out to be its major vulnerabilities. Let us take a look at these vulnerabilities and how the cloud can provide strength in these areas.

Vulnerability 1:
Synchronization and single-user trial balance neutralizes productivity and collaboration—and defends against real-time review.

Cloud’s role in providing strength:

The cloud provides the facility to access all the audit data harmlessly in current time. The audit team gets up to date access to the entire engagement from anywhere with trial balance, multi-user content, document retention management features.

Vulnerability 2:

Security threats have expanded due to variety of laptops, tablets, androids and other electronic devices used in businesses. Remote workers and flexible work environment adds to this threat even further.

Cloud’s role in providing security:

Considering the fact that people assume cloud-based services to be less secure than on premise offerings, cloud businesses must stand by tough standards and independent audits also known as SOC2 engagement. Since the earnings and profits of the cloud providers depend on the security of their services, cloud providers apply their full efforts in maintaining the security standards.

Moreover, the cloud increases security and control over crucial data by not keeping it on laptops. As per the Alert Logic’s 2012 State of Cloud Security Report, on-premise solutions suffer from more security-related incidents than cloud environments in reality.

An on-premise user experiences 61.4 attacks on an average and cloud user experiences only 27.8 attacks. Further, on premise users also go through more physically forceful attacks (i.e., break-ins, etc.) in comparison to the cloud-based users.

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Any technology provider who offers cloud based services must ensure that only you have the access of your data behind strong physical security. Moreover, they need to maintain copies of regular data backups, to escape from the situation of disaster recovery.

Vulnerability 3:

Audits at multiple location and difficulty in managing and configuring the remote staff

Cloud’s role in providing Accessibility:

Using the cloud based technology; audit teams can access data from any location. Thus, cloud enables better coordination in fieldwork and review processes across the globe and allows remote staff to collaborate in real time.
Miscoordination is no more an issue in Multi-location audits since all staff members can access the live data simultaneously.

Vulnerability 4:
The lack of Version control capabilities can cause confusion and rework.

Cloud’s role in providing strength:
The version issue gets eliminated by the web-based audit engagement management feature of the cloud. With cloud, the staff always gets the latest version of a document since it eliminates the checked out copies and backups.
Further, Managers and partners can review work from the office, as soon as it is completed. You do not need anyone to synchronize work back to the office servers.

Vulnerability 5:

It is an IT burden to update the software manually and maintain the server.

Cloud’s role in providing strength:

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With the cloud, you do not need to update software, take manual backups and maintain the server. All of your crucial data and applications are always updated and secured. You simply need to log in to a web browser and start your work.

While using the cloud, all things like your engagements, software updates, colleagues and work papers are available in real time with just a click independent of any location.

Thus, we see how cloud eliminates all the weaknesses of audit engagements. Cloud is the best medium for sharing information and reducing your IT burden to a great extent. So it is the right time to take your audit practice on to the cloud.

Author Profile

Angeela Palin
Angeela Palin
Angeela is Techarex Networks' Content Marketing Associate for Intuit products. She has worked as an eCommerce and Marketing Strategist for the last five years, helping businesses with software implementation for Customer Service, CRM and Email Marketing. Angeela thrives in helping companies find the right software solution for their projects. Aside from his obvious passion for Marketing, Angella admits to being a foodie and travel enthusiast.

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