(As originally published on LinkedIn, 25 January 2017)

Embracing the future of audit with purpose

  • Share

By: Tom Kornya, Americas Deputy Vice Chair, Assurance Services at EY

I recently accepted a position as Deputy Vice Chair of Assurance for Americas EY — an exciting new role that will allow me to continue evolving our assurance practice towards new heights. For me, a career change is a time to pause and think about where I've been, where I'm going and why. As I reflect, I can't help but think how much the industry has been marked by change over the last decade, but in fact, we haven't seen anything yet.

An endless focus on audit quality

When I joined EY as Assurance Managing Partner about six years ago, Canada and the world were still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis. At a time of uncertainty and poor economic outlook, our team doubled down on making sure the quality of our audits is unparalleled and sustainable. Working with regulators, clients and other stakeholders, we pushed our benchmark of what good quality means even further.

No matter what disruptive forces shake up different sectors in the future, sustainable audit quality will always be paramount in our profession. I’m proud of what our team has accomplished and I have no doubt they will navigate the changes facing our industry with the same sense of purpose, integrity and excellence I’ve witnessed over the last six years.

The audit of the future is already here

I talk about the audit of the future a lot, and that’s because our industry is transforming at lightning speed. The traditional audit of sampling transactions is disappearing, as we start using analytics, machine learning and robotic process automation to also look at areas of risk, financial compliance and fraud. In other words, we’re moving towards a data-rich, comprehensive audit that can deliver predictive modeling and deep insights to management, the c-suite and board directors. These changes are posing many challenges to auditors, but they’re also introducing a lot of opportunities.

As I transition into my new role, I look forward to working with an even greater number of countries all across the Americas to continue piloting exciting new projects that use technologies like blockchain, drones and artificial intelligence to make audits even better. Experimenting, innovating and embracing new technology is the only way we can continue to serve the public interest and capital markets in a meaningful way.

Purpose-led transformation

Technological advances are a game-changer for the future of audit. Such drastic changes can be confusing and overwhelming. That’s why I’m a proponent of staying true to your purpose, especially in times of change. EY’s purpose is to build a better working world, and EY’s people are relentlessly working towards that vision.

I think it’s important to have your own personal purpose, too. The focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing can help prioritize the right relationships, the right career moves and making the right choices when serving clients. Just asking yourself one question – am I contributing to a better world, or to my purpose? — can help you succeed in navigating industry-wide changes.

As I transition into my new role, and work with Canada’s incoming Assurance Managing Partner, Massimo Marinelli, I have an overwhelming sense of optimism and pride for our profession. Having lived and breathed this industry for about 30 years, the future of assurance has never looked more exciting.