New Potential in Audit & Assurance as GC Team Harnesses AI

By Stephen Wray, CPA

July 26, 2023

Grimbleby Coleman’s Audit & Assurance (A&A) Team is expanding in ways that weren’t possible even five years ago. Thanks to our brilliant team, leading-edge technology, and our commitment to service, A&A is advancing toward new heights in service. We are excited for our clients to tap into the benefits of this progress.

The Future of Auditing is Here

When Grimbleby Coleman was founded in 1973, audits and reviews were performed by hand, with accountants poring over thousands upon thousands of documents. Like all of our services, auditing has evolved with technology and made huge strides forward in efficiency and efficacy. Computers have made this technical task less arduous over the past two decades, but the process still takes time and is subject to human error.

We equip our team by investing in educational experiences, where they always return with valuable insights — everything from inspired ideas, best practices, industry connections, and new technology. In recent years, leading-edge automation and machine learning technology have taken center stage.

Grimbleby Coleman has been using automation for years. Automation refers to the process of using technology to perform tasks without human intervention. An example would be QuickBooks pulling transactions from a linked bank account to track business income and expenses.

AI, on the other hand, aims to simulate human intelligence through machine learning and deep learning. During machine learning, AI uses algorithms to sort through huge amounts of data and make informed decisions based on that data. Deep learning structures those algorithms into layers, known as an artificial neural network, so the AI program can make decisions independently. Using machine learning and deep learning, AI programs can analyze data to identify patterns and make predictions.

Enter our latest investment, MindBridge — an artificial intelligence (AI) platform and leader in audit, tax, and advisory services. MindBridge uses AI to look for risky trends and transactions within an organization’s ledgers and financial data.

MindBridge also delivers advanced analytics designed to fit our firm’s audit methodology, resulting in better error prevention and more accurate records over the long term. MindBridge also partners with CalCPA and BDO, both trusted organizations in the accounting industry.

AI gets ahead of the manual, repetitive audit tasks of the past by identifying trends and predicting errors that might otherwise be missed. Eliminating the more repetitive tasks allows us to ask more effective questions to dive deep into an issue. If, for example, we talk to a business owner and ask about the past year, the owner might give us a broad overview of whether the year was profitable or not. With our AI data in hand, however, we can pinpoint even short-term trends that give us a better picture of how the year went. That leads us to more relevant questions — and, hopefully, allows the client to take corrective actions to address potential issues.

In addition to more accurate reporting and better error prevention, utilizing these efficiency tools gives our clients another advantage: fewer documents for clients to submit. All that is needed is the business’s general ledger generated by QuickBooks or other accounting software. Our team then organizes the information, formats it into the AI software, and can extract helpful data and insights for our engagements.

Auditing and accounting standards are becoming more complex over time, increasing our team’s workload. MindBridge and other technologies help us stay ahead and aligned with what we expect in the future. If you are of a certain age, you might recall the first big-screen TVs — they were large and expensive to purchase, and at first, some buyers thought they were a flash in the pan. Now that we can all purchase 55-inch flat-screen TVs for less than $500, we can look back and see how the technology evolved into something many consumers now consider standard.

We believe AI-assisted auditing and accounting will be viewed much the same way in time. We are confident that our early adoption of this technology will allow us to focus on identifying high-risk areas for our clients while increasing overall effectiveness.

Assessing Your Needs

With the help of technology, our Audit & Assurance team can offer even more assistance to clients. Our team has recently engaged in numerous conversations with clients about the issues facing them in 2023. The supply chain issues that have dogged the world for the past few years are easing, but the demand for skilled employees has yet to peak. Many clients can’t find the needed employees or are forced to pay well over what they can afford. While we can’t source new employees, we can help you assess your hiring patterns so you’re more prepared to make crucial decisions and identify areas where you might be able to counterbalance staff shortages.

Get in Touch

Our team is stronger than ever and growing steadily. Thanks to AI and other technologies, our team of 11 is fully embracing every opportunity to increase our effectiveness and bring you best-in-class service.   

Whenever possible, GC is here to be an extension of your team with our capable people behind the numbers. Contact us to discuss your operation’s audit needs.