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ICAEW backs use of AI in workplace

The ICAEW suggested that a clear theme has risen by audit firms and professional bodies in response to the report which showed their support for an increased use of technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

The ICAEW has backed the increased use of technology in the workplace after a report by the FRC claimed that training and skill sets were the councils main concern on the use of technology to enhance audit quality.

The ICAEW suggested that a clear theme has risen by audit firms and professional bodies in response to the report which showed their support for an increased use of technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Adding that this could “enhance” quality within the workplace provided that the technology is used at the right time and by individuals who are appropriately trained.

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However, the group said that the response also highlighted a number of issues, including the “challenges” of handling large numbers of “exceptions” in data analysis procedures and the difficulties of documenting AI and ML-based evidence.

Respondents from the ICAEW also warned of “significant challenges” in accessing high-quality client data in a reliable and consistent format.

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David Lyford-Smith, technical Manager in ICAEW, said the theme of recruiting staff with the right skills and developing appropriate training for both trainees and experienced staff had “emerged as a priority”.

He said: “ICAEW is already moving exams to completely computer-based assessments and a partnership with Inflo means we include data analytics examples in questions. Understanding of data and bias is also part of this and we’ve been beefing up these parts of the syllabus.

“It is clear that people see value in a standard that encompasses other countries and other forms of professional data but that is no small ask.”

He added: “There’s absolutely an opportunity here to enhance audit quality, this isn’t just about cutting costs and cutting corners but it’s absolutely not a given, and it does have to be approached with attention and thought and there are still some big questions to be resolved.”

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