In the '5 minutes with..', we highlight a variety of topics from the perspective of our DataSnipper team members. In this 5 minute read with Bas Willems, Head of Marketing at DataSnipper, you'll get insight into our most beloved audience: auditors. Happy reading.
Q: Hi Bas, you're starting your 9th month at DataSnipper. What is it that you love most?
I've worked for multiple software/technology start-ups. All focused on building software solutions for enterprise clients. As a marketer, I've always tried to understand the audience we were selling to. While learning about auditors and their struggles, pain and their needs in making their (professional) lives easier, I was surprised by how fascinating this audience actually is.
Q: Awesome, can you tell us why?
Sure, it starts with their work environment. Auditors work in a very controlled environment, with lots of company hierarchy, bureaucracy and risk control. When young auditors start their career, they have a romanticised idea on what auditing in their first years actually is. Starting as an auditor - in larger firms especially, it means you start climbing a long and predefined corporate ladder. At the bottom of this ladder, there is lots of manual and repetitive audit work to be done. Including non-paid overtime as a standard. It's not sexy. It can actually be boring sometimes. The controlled, and the maybe somewhat "old school" culture in these firms make sure that this is seen as the standard; "auditing is life". Yes, some young auditors leave because of this.
Q: What role does technology play in the life of an auditor?
Regardless of this "old school" culture, almost every auditor does focus on new and innovative technology and automation. My personal assumption; the human effort, related pain and potential value to solving the repetitive work, is simply very high. Imagine the impact of 2.000 auditors needing only one hour, instead of eight to prepare and review an audit procedure. Every auditor wants to solve it. Audit firms are constantly looking for new automated and standardized audit workflows, while maintaining a flexible way of working to meet the individual needs of clients. Call it the 'standardization versus agility paradigm'
Q: What action do audit firms take to increase audit effeciency?
Many firms start internal innovation projects and build custom solutions in an attempt to win the battle for efficiency, while improving audit quality in an environment that is appealing to the modern workforce. Auditors love tools. They're basically the engineers of accounting. Their dream? It's probably related to 'continuous auditing'. A way of working with advanced automation and AI technology with a seamless and real-time integration between the client and the audit firm. Automation and AI take over 99% of the work, while auditors stay in control. "Bye-bye busy season", is what they dream about.
Q: Is this dream already a reality?
This dream is far from reality. Small firms don't have the resources to work on these projects. Larger firms don't have the right culture and mindset to drive true product innovation. Their size slows them down. And they know it. Today, advanced firms have tools and procedures in place to e.g. automate Test of Detail procedures with intelligent document matching. However, due to their intelligence and engineering mindset, these solutions are extremely complex to use or are missing friendly user interfaces, decreasing overall tool adoption rates.
Q: Is this why they use DataSnipper?
Yes, this is why auditors keep their eyes open for external tools in the market. And DataSnipper is the one they find and praise. DataSnipper is an intelligent audit platform within Excel that accelerates the speed and quality of their audit procedures. We're specialized in automating and easily documenting tests of details, tests of controls, walkthroughs, and financial statement procedures. Our technology packed in Excel drives more than 10 audit automation features (supported by Azure Cloud AI & OCR technologies), helping more than 150.000 auditors globally. We literally change lives; from US to Japan, and from Nigeria to Australia. We help auditors to become a better version of themselves.
Q: Excel? Sounds boring?
Yes, that's what I thought too once. But I had it wrong. Auditors love Excel. Senior auditors were raised with Excel. Young auditors simply need to work with Excel, but are looking for new ways to work smarter with the tools they get presented. To have a tool that runs in Excel and is praised by staff, managers and partners alike is a big win. And DataSnipper offers a seamless integration between Artificial Intelligence and an actionable user interface in Excel. A product designed for a single user group; auditors. It just makes them feel happier. And due to efficiency increase, we literally eliminate their overtime. We don't receive love letters, but we have seen auditors jumping on their chairs when they saw DataSnipper for the first time. True story.
Q: what else does DataSnipper do?
Yes, great question. Going back to the cultural issue. DataSnipper is more than just a product in Excel. We learned that by openly acknowledging the pain of the auditor, we win their hearts. They feel at home at DataSnipper, because we listen to and understand their pain. We make auditing fun again. For that reason, the whole world started Snipping and it's the most realistic first step towards their dream of 'continuous auditing'.
Q: Anything you like to add?
Yes, Happy Snipping!