Would be Artificial Intelligence (AI) Capable of Replacing Human Auditors?

The rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence has sparked discussion about the replacement and acquisition of a variety of human employment. By obtaining access to information and improving operations, Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change the profession. Machines will take over repetitive and transactional activities, giving auditors more time to apply their professional judgment to riskier, more critical areas. Furthermore, automation minimizes the potential of biases in data processing, allowing external auditors to depend more on internal auditors' work.

According to a study of over 2,000 work activities in more than 800 occupations by the McKinsey Global Institute released in 2016, the easiest jobs to automate are those involving predictable physical activities such as assembly line work in manufacturing. The next easiest jobs to automate include data collection and processing activities. At the other end of the spectrum, the hardest activities to automate are those that involve managing and developing people or require deep expertise in decision-making and planning. Auditors are less likely to lose their employment in the near future since auditing is not just dependent on the collection of data and activities; extra analysis and understanding from the auditor is required to evaluate if the financial statements are presented fairly.

According to Deloitte, the concern of losing jobs because of AI is dismissed as the growth of recruitments in the audit field grew by approximately two thousand people. It was concluded that the evolution in technology has recast the talent mix- the skill sets and professional development needs of the auditor have evolved as well. AI and human developed machine learning are not equipped with the ability to apply professional judgement and consider factors beyond its programmed logic. This grants the opportunity for auditors to preserve and hereinafter enhance the quality of their job by working in apace with AI. Not only auditors, students today are anticipating the trend too. Schools and universities have reshaped their goals of not only educating through traditional methods, but to cater the skill of working with technology. To conclude the report, audit is not becoming a machine led industry and AI will not replace the role of auditors. Instead of replacing the role of the auditor, automation is enhancing it, equipping audit professionals with more reliable and detailed insights to build greater trust and confidence in the capital markets.