You are employed in a small audit firm, as a senior auditor. One of your colleagues, Savannah
(an intermediate in your firm who recently helped you to complete preliminary analytical
procedures for a client), has contacted you with some concerns: she has heard from a family
friend that auditors will become redundant in a few years due to rapid advancements in audit
technology. She wants to know how advancements in technology will affect her role in the
audit team including the way she communicates with other staff, and how your firm will
complete analytical procedures in the future. She has asked you for your personal views on
whether auditors will be replaced by automated technology within the foreseeable future.
The firm you work for, like many small firms, currently prepares audit workpapers
predominantly in Excel. The firm has an Excel file that includes a standard audit program and
workpaper templates for recommended audit procedures. This file is used as the basis for all
of the firm’s audit engagements and is customised for each engagement (e.g. sheets are
added and deleted as appropriate). The first sheet in the file is titled “Matters for partner
attention”; you use this to note concerns that are identified during audits. In addition to
communicating via “Matters for partner attention”, you have face-to-face meetings with the
audit partner and other members of the audit team as necessary. Despite all staff being based
in the same physical office, email communication is the norm in your firm. Phone calls also
occur but are infrequent and are principally used when staff are off-site (e.g. when visiting a
Your task is to research recent developments in audit technology and prepare an email
response to your colleague which covers the points below:
• Briefly explain 3 key technologies that are affecting (or threatening to affect) the audit
profession (for example: Audit Support Systems, Blockchain technology, etc.).
• Discuss the “disruptive” potential of these technologies (e.g. how will they change the
way auditors operate). As part of your discussion, identify how the technologies can:
o affect communication within the audit team,
o support auditor’s analytical procedures at various stages in the audit, and
o reduce the influence of auditor bias in decision-making.
• Comment on whether (and to what extent) you feel these technologies have the
potential to replace human auditors.
• Comment on which of these technologies you feel would be most appropriate for your
firm to adopt, and why.