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Drones are coming to an audit near you

14 July 2017

Wave goodbye to your calculator, the accountant's new best friend could be their pet drone!
PwC already has a drone HQ in Poland and now EY has announced it plans to scale-up the use of drones in its audit process.
The days of PQs climbing up ladders for annual stocktake could be well and truly over.
Last year, PwC created a global centre of excellence in Poland, called Drone Powered Solutions. It wants to harness the opportunities drones can offer its clients.
PwC’s Michal Mazur said: “Drones are making the transition from novelty item to indispensable business tool.” He estimated that the drone-powered solutions market had an estimated market value of $127bn.
Meanwhile, EY has just announced a Global Proof of Concept (POC) to expand the use of drones in ‘inventory observations’, as part of its digital audit capabilities.
The Big 4 firm said that in order to enhance audit quality this extensive pilot project will use pioneering industry technology to improve the accuracy and frequency of its inventory count data collection.
The cloud-based asset tracking platform, powered by an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor network will analyse inventory qualities in real-time by reading Quick Response (QR)/barcode/rack labels and feeding this information directly into EY’s audit digital platform, which connects to 80,000 auditors.
The POC will initially be used in both the manufacturing and retail sectors. Audits for automotive manufacturers, for example, will use the drones to conduct an automated count of vehicles at manufacturing plants. In retail sector audits, for warehouse stock count, the drones will work autonomously while using variable image and object recognition tools such as optical character recognition and barcodes to collect inventory information, especially during off-hours to minimise audit stakeholder risk and improve efficiency.
EY’s digital leader, Hermann Sidhu, said: “We have been testing the use of drones in the audit process for several months and the findings have been compelling. IT’s now time to scale our testing globally across multiple sectors, as we know that many audits can benefit from the use of this innovative technology.”
He also felt that the use of drones will allow audit teams to focus on identifying areas of risk, rather than manually capturing stock counts.

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