Auditing traditionally was carried out using paper handwritten files. Then with the arrival of the personal computer auditing began to use the efficiency gains available by word processors and spreadsheet programs.
Audit Assistant combines concepts from all these plus harnessing the power of real-time online processing via the internet. The following trends are driving the move toward this technology:
- Firms use multi-site, remote working and flex-working to utilise resources to the fullest.
- Move to paperless office environments.
- Requirement for peer review/ quality control – often from another city.
- The potential of running a professional practice without the need for internal networks
- Developments in technology now allow web-based applications to run as fast as desktop software solutions.
- Opportunities for security and disaster recovery.
- Software as a Service(SaaS) is a more predictable and economical cost model over owned software.
We adopted the SaaS model for our services because:
- It allows for constant improvement with content continually updated and serviced rather than requiring major rewrites and complete new releases.
- Audit Assistant runs on all modern browsers, therefore computer type or operating system is not an issue.
- It provides the opportunity for smaller firms to stay competitive helping smaller niche firms to achieve high-quality audits for a reasonable cost.
- Auditors require a more standardised, rigorous approach.
The Audit Assistant platform is:
- Hosted in Sydney, Australia, with cloud hosting specialists Digital Ocean.
- This service provides a point-in-time restore, in case of accidental or malicious loss of data.
- Full daily backups of the database plus job snapshots made at critical points, plus encrypted attachments are stored with data storage provider Amazon S3 (Sydney, Australia).
- The backup of the whole database is automated using a 'snapshot' system enabling users to revert to prior versions of the job in case of accidental data deletion.
- We also back up at least weekly to Hamilton, NZ, using the services of Catalyst Cloud.
- Data in transit is protected by encryption to minimise the possibility of access by unauthorised parties.
- Users may log on to their work wherever there is internet access.
- Multiple staff in any number of locations may work on any part of the audit workbook concurrently.
- Partners or managers may review work in spare moments from overseas, in airports, or in cafes via Laptop, Smartphone or Tablet.
- Every firm has a unique URL which ensures that there is no possibility of data being accessed by other firms.
- Every user in the firm has a unique log-in so that all work may be traced to a specific user.
- Each firm has a unique URL.
- Each user is assigned a unique login and chooses a password.
- Users are also allocated a role by the account administrator (Partner, Manager, Standard user, Limited user, Peer Reviewer) allowing for different levels of authority (only a Partner can perform the final sign off for example).
- Staff are assigned to individual jobs and are only able to work on those jobs.
- As work is performed each work item is tagged with the user name and date of work completion, providing total accountability.