From evolving audit standards to the future of new technologies, a recent Accounting Today article solicits insights from five industry experts addressing the latest trends in accounting. Today’s regulatory environment is rapidly changing and growing more complex. But such new technologies as cloud-based AP automation and expense management software are helping accounting departments keep pace and improve performance.

Here are five ways the cloud is changing the accounting landscape, according to Accounting Today.

  1. Providing greater data access for auditors and accounting departments. By combining cloud software and mobile devices, many organizations are using remote, anytime access to financial data to boost efficiency and productivity.
  2. Coordinating consistent processes across complex organizations. Using cloud-based accounting platforms facilitates greater consistency across departments and locations — especially for far-flung offices of international companies — and allows for integrated, automated audit processes that improve productivity.
  3. Improving communications within audit teams. One expert cites improved communication between auditors and audit committees, without management as an intermediary. This direct communication may help support the independence and objectivity of auditors.
  4. Preventing fraud through electronic confirmations. In just five years, electronic confirmations have gone from rare to ubiquitous as a method of detecting and preventing fraud. According to Accounting Today’s panel, more than 10,000 organizations worldwide now use this technology, annually processing $1 trillion in confirmations.
  5. Using “big data” to drive intelligent audits. By incorporating powerful analytics tools into expense management software, audit teams can identify trends in a company’s expense spending, quickly generate reports, and implement new automated rules to address risks and problems. Instead of taking a sample, auditors can organize and examine populations based on fraud risk.

As these five examples indicate, cloud-based technology is proving an invaluable ally for complex organizations navigating a rapidly-changing regulatory environment.

We’d appreciate your feedback. What do you see as the most important technology developments affecting accounting and auditing? What changes do you expect to see in terms of the impact of cloud computing? Share your thoughts below in the comments section!

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