With an innovative idea to speed up auditing processes, Deakin commerce student Fawwad Bin Naseer has taken out top spot in the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) 2017 Audit Technology Competition.
Fawwad’s winning proposal focuses on a software solution that improves the pre-engagement and risk assessment procedures of an audit.
He explains that by determining the scope of the audit, typical areas of concern, risks associated and a suggested action plan for the auditors, the solution addresses the problem of time constraint.
‘More often than not, this hinders the quality of the audit,’ he says.
‘The time saved on the pre-engagement and risk assessment process will be spent on investigating controls and conduct substantive testing which will, in turn, enhance the overall audit quality. It also addresses the issues of consistency and auditor’s independence by making frequent rotation of audit teams easier and practical. Auditor’s independence will improve by avoiding long association of audit teams with a client.’
Ever since the infamous collapse of firms such Enron and Arthur Andersen, the audit profession has been under ongoing public scrutiny says Fawwad.
‘Therefore, it is important to address these problems to help the audit profession retrieve the prestige and reputation that it once had, as well as restore public trust in the commercial world in general.’
Fawwad is in the final year of a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in accounting and finance.
Studying auditing earlier in his course, he was equipped with the necessary theory and technical knowledge think about how the audit process could be improved.
‘However I had to do extensive research about the audit technology currently used globally to make sure my idea was something new. I also thoroughly researched the technology used in my idea to make sure it was commercially feasible and not a fairy-tale!’ he adds.
After submitting a full presentation of their ideas, the three competition finalists – from Melbourne, Perth and New Zealand – attended a video Q&A session with a panel of judges who were located across Australian and New Zealand.
‘All the judges were audit partners in large scale firms with substantial industry experience. Each had prepared a unique set of questions related to the idea which were both intellectually stimulating and inspiring. It was a nerve-wrecking experience to be pitching my idea to these audit gurus and tackling their challenging questions, however, I’m glad it happened because the confidence I have gained from this kind of exposure is priceless,’ he recalls.
Fawwad considers the competition win as one of his life’s biggest achievements and a highlight of his Deakin University journey.
‘From a professional standpoint, this award will add great value to my resume as reflects innovative and out-of-the-box thinking. On a personal note, it’s very significant for me – as an international student from Pakistan – to be recognised and awarded by CAANZ. My family and friends back home are proud of my achievement and this motivates me to do more.’