Build growth for your accounting network while improving compliance

January 16, 2019 RSS

The accounting industry is changing rapidly across multiple different fronts. The sector faces intense disruption due to technology interventions that automate a growing number of audit and tax computing tasks, driving price pressure amid evolving client expectations. At the same time, individual accounting firms and their larger accounting networks increasingly need to collaborate across borders while serving global clients and their subsidiaries. The regulatory landscape has also become more rigorous, as global M&A and trade-related activities increase. National and regional regulatory agencies have implemented new or enhanced policies surrounding technology, data privacy, independence, and conflicts of interest, which frequently pose implications for all member firms of a global network.

As a result of this constellation of challenges, global accounting networks and their member firms must provide enhanced levels of regulatory transparency and establish high standards of integrity and objectivity. Simultaneously, they’re looking for innovative ways to expand business opportunities to new verticals, and to sell a wider menu of services to existing clients, both in local markets and across the global network.

Clients are also demanding more from their accounting firms. In the recent Audit 2025 report, Forbes Insights/KPMG surveyed 200 CEOs, CFOs, and other financial executives from organizations with $500 million or more in annual revenue. Nearly 80% of respondents reported that they expected their public auditors to be more technologically savvy, specifically using “more sophisticated technologies for data gathering and analysis in their day-to-day work”. Almost half of the respondents also wanted more transparency in their audit opinions.

Progressive, forward-looking accounting firms and global networks have begun heavily investing in technology to assist in automating menial tasks related to improving audit quality, maintaining independence, and tracking regulatory changes. Firms are also putting their funds behind technical solutions that can capture information and data from all business processes, with an eye toward better informing strategy, targeting new opportunities, and remaining compliant.

Although it’s proven difficult for global accounting networks to better serve audit clients while improving independence, failure to do so can impact the reputation of both a firm and its global network, and result in substantial financial penalties. As just one example: In 2018, Deloitte Canada paid a $350,000 fine for failing to meet audit standards after its South African network affiliate provided technical reports for its Canadian client’s South Africa entity.

By implementing a global, firmwide technology platform — one that continuously reviews client engagement data, tracks corporate entities, and monitors client subsidiaries — firms are able to flag independence concerns and conflict issues in real time, triggering appropriate risk-mitigation actions. A networkwide platform also offers financial benefits, including streamlining business development collaboration, assisting in cross-selling new services, and providing visibility into new verticals where firms could potentially provide services.

At Intapp, we understand our accounting customers require an enterprise-grade solution that services the needs of individual network-member firms while facilitating global collaboration and compliance. Intapp Global Independence helps worldwide accounting networks increase compliance, grow profitably, and proactively respond to a changing global regulatory environment. Intapp Global Independence offers advanced AI-assisted conflicts clearance, external corporate-tree data integration, and an easy-to-use interface that’s accessible from anywhere, on any device. We’re ready to help individual partners focus on better serving their high-value clients while improving profitability for their entire network.

Learn how Intapp Global Independence can help transform your independence processes from a compliance necessity to a revenue-maximization opportunity.

 

Written by: Savita Kini

Savita Kini has over 18 years of industry experience, with an emphasis on strategic innovation and the launch of new enterprise technologies. At Intapp, she serves as director of product marketing for growth and verticals, focused on accounting, consulting, and financial services segments. She regularly writes about topics related to women in tech, technology innovation, product marketing, and leadership.


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