PwC's award submission, entitled: "Next generation AI services for the next generation auditor," focuses on PwC's industry leading capabilities like predictive analytics and AI-assisted financial statement disclosure checking, as well as capabilities exploring the potential of generative AI. A culture of innovation across the PwC network of firms continues to drive the creation of tech-enabled solutions addressing both local and global needs, including the technologies underlying this suite of AI services for PwC's next generation audit.
The annual awards event brought together "global accounting firms along with regulators and industry bodies, consultancies and advisors, law firms, and technology providers to engage on the key themes impacting the sector and the opportunities for growth," according to the event's website.
James Chalmers, Global Assurance Leader, PwC United Kingdom, said:
"PwC is investing heavily in AI in our audit which we believe will deliver a generational leap forward in the way we deliver our work. It will augment our capabilities and further enable our teams to focus on those areas critical to building trust in what matters to our clients and their stakeholders."
PwC's ongoing innovation in AI in the audit
PwC's proprietary predictive analytics employs cloud-based machine learning and advanced statistical models to provide PwC auditors with the ability to predict client revenue to support audit procedures. This technology enables full population analysis of transactions that make up a financial statement line item balance, and includes built-in data reliability and model validation checks helping PwC teams further enhance their understanding of clients' businesses, while delivering a more tailored, quality audit.
PwC's proprietary AI-assisted financial statement disclosure checking uses AI capabilities to augment the review of financial statement disclosures, and will also assist with sustainability and climate reporting in the future, reducing turnaround times, enhancing quality and unburdening the auditing process.
PwC's exploration of Generative AI and AI-enabled search functionality seeks to provide auditors with the ability to pinpoint relevant information with accuracy and precision and generate relevant summaries to support the audit process. The prototype capability enables PwC professionals to search through significant volumes of accounting and auditing guidance, or customise their experience by uploading and querying their own documentation - eliminating the need for manual search.
Mark Flavell, PwC's Global Next Generation Audit Technology Leader, PwC United States, said:
"As a human-led, tech-powered organisation, PwC has the global reach that clients expect from a next generation professional services provider. We are moving quickly to develop and deploy machine learning and natural language processing capabilities across our global audit ecosystem. Our AI-enabled, data-driven services - including generative AI and anomaly detection - help to solve age-old challenges, which in the past may have burdened internal teams and clients' organisations, as they support the audit process. This generational leap forward will augment the capabilities of our professionals and free them up to do more of what they do best."
PwC has been pioneering AI in professional services
PwC has a history of integrating AI in the delivery of audit services. In 2017, PwC made a significant investment in pioneering AI for audit by building a revolutionary bot that used AI and machine learning to 'x-ray' a business, analysing billions of data points in milliseconds - seeing what humans can't - and applying judgement to detect anomalies in the general ledger. Called GL.ai, it was named the 'Audit Innovation of the Year' by the International Accounting Bulletin in 2017.
Following this award-winning momentum, PwC's work on Cash.ai won the 2019 'Audit Innovation of the Year' from the International Accounting Bulletin. Cash.ai uses AI to automatically read, understand and test client documents, including cash balances, bank reconciliations, bank confirmation letters, foreign exchange and the financial condition of the financial institution.
At PwC, we are already transforming how our 328,000 strong global workforce delivers everything from audit and assurance, to tax and legal services, and consulting.
Leveraging a first-of-its-kind relationship with Microsoft, PwC is building a revolutionary audit ecosystem for our next generation audit. The technologies underpinning these innovation awards are among those which will be included in PwC's next generation audit platform, an ecosystem that will be fully integrated, fuelled by data, enhancing quality and value, and reducing burden by streamlining data acquisition, standardising processes, and focusing auditors' work on areas of higher risk. The multi-year effort invests in new technologies and revisits underlying audit processes, further standardising, simplifying, centralising, and automating audit work. The investment accelerates innovation and enables PwC to respond to changing stakeholders' needs, providing a transformed audit experience for PwC's global network and clients focusing on continuous quality enhancement and incorporating cognitive technologies, including anomaly detection, predictive analytics and intelligent audit assistance.
Chanchai Chaiprasit, Chief Executive Officer, PwC Thailand, added:
"At PwC Thailand, we use big data analytics for our audits. In today's landscape, technology such as AI or generative AI and advanced data analytics have become more accessible to auditors than ever before. This means that auditors must have digital skills to harness the power of these technologies.
"Beyond improving efficiency, AI provides valuable insights and a clearer understanding of our clients' operations. This, in turn, will enhance the effectiveness of our audit work."
Source: PwC Thailand