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Think big

In his speech to the Corporate Reporting Users' Forum, former ICAEW president Andrew Ratcliffe shared his thoughts on how developments in artificial intelligence and analytics might soon shape audit.

During my year as ICAEW president, we carried out a full strategy exercise. A main theme that emerged was the effect on our profession of the huge advances in IT - and the effects that might yet come. One of the IT's significant advances is big data. By that I mean the combination of the enormous volumes of recorded data being captured by cloud technology and mobile devices. They are collecting more data than has been possible before; the computing power required to interrogate and analyse those vast quantities of data is enormous.

All the major auditing firms say they are innovating their audit approaches with the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI). But what does that mean? What are they actually doing? And what might they do?

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