Since the era of renaissance tremendous and gradual progress on the evolution in technology has yielded positive changes in artificial intelligence systems. The revolution of technology has caused progressive changes in industrial and commercial fields. Financial firm auditing, in this case, has been reinforced, as substantive investments are placed to enhance supportive auditing techniques. The field of auditing has lagged behind in technology adoption for decades, and this is due to the process, labor intensiveness, and the massive decision structures. However, a breakthrough has been made as multiple artificial intelligence technologies have begun to conform influencing the auditing field. Drones, which are the remotely piloted flying machines, are in adoption in the commercial area due to their multipurpose benefits. The approval of the intelligence technology and drone use in the business sector is both a success, but some shortcoming precedes it. This paper will discuss the areas of the drone application in accounting and auditing profession, its purposeful benefits and limitations in this field will also be examined.
Drones in the past have been famous for their use in the war zone and have least been applicable in the business industry, but reports have indicated and proved that drones are fit for use in the commercial sectors either in big or small firms. According to reports from the coordinator of the American Institute of CPA's, he asserts that drones are a breakthrough and a way to the future. A Study conducted by Tela group indicate that the drone use and drone industry will skyrocket in the coming decades and the industry production capacity will increase from the annual $4 billion to$14 billion which in ten years will sum up to $93billion. The drone industry is an emerging industry with numerous commercial applications and as time passes the industry procurements and operations are likely to hike from $ 100 to $260. The USC reports have indicated that the drone use in the number of Canadian companies has gradually increased since 2008.
The industry has realized the potential of the drone market, and in the past years since 2014, the drone company has capitalized on increased learning in particular flight operations to suit the growing market of drone specialty in accounting and auditing. An example of new sectors that have discovered the use of drones demanding improved learning and licensing include the urban planning sector, building inspection and public safety monitoring (Guest Blogger, 2016).
Applications of drone in accounting and auditing profession
Auditors and accountants undertake various procedures to achieve their objectives. One of such procedures is inspection which involves touring the field for data collection purpose. When done physically these inspections can be very costly and time-consuming. The use of drones currently enables auditors to examine property assets spread in the major geographical locations with ease. The devices are fitted with cameras and then flown across sites such as open cast mines where they capture pictures and take measurements. Also, the devices could be flown to the top of grain silos to take measurements instead of sending staff to climb the silos. The images are transmitted in real time to intelligent automated computers that process the data to make estimates of the client's assets. This process saves time and costs that would have been incurred if a physical count had been done that is more tedious thus lightens the auditor's workload. It also eases the process since the staff is relieved off such difficult tasks thus making things easier and safer while simultaneously increasing efficiency and capabilities.
Another application of drones is in the risk assessment process of auditing. It is the process of determining the potential risks that may impact on the achievement of objectives and assess their likelihood of occurrence. Drones are capable of collecting data that is used in the assessment of risks. The images captured at a work site while it is flying can afterward be used to examine whether the workers met the safety precaution measures such as wearing of the helmet (Ovaska-Few, 2017).
Benefits and limitations of drone usage in accounting
From research, the drones have proved to make vast differences and impacts for accounting firms. These firms that have embraced the use of drone technology stand to gain two-fold. Firstly by using the devices to collect data for audit purpose and secondly by offering consultancy services through assistance to clients in incorporating drones usage in their operations. Through this support, customers can make enhanced decisions, improve their revenue work streams and reduce their costs of operation while their safety is also mitigated.
The adoption of these devices in the accounting and auditing profession comes with various benefits to the firms. Businesses that embraced the use of these devices have experienced exponential business growth due to the fastened processes, reduction in costs and upgraded business models. The unmanned aircraft can be flown in remote and dangerous areas which may be considered inaccessible by the firm's staff to collect data. Unlike individuals who require time to relax after working for a specified number of hours, drones work all day and night should need to arise (Sagepub.com, 2017). This implies that any information required can be obtained any time of the day or night. By flying over large geographical areas in short periods capturing images over a short period, the drones save a lot of working hours that would have been spent undertaking physical counts. With less time devoted to the field the costs that would have also been incurred reduce to a large extent, therefore, saving firm's income. Auditors are at times required to monitor the status of projects under construction which are risky and prone to accidents, especially for tall buildings. Use of drones to capture images at high heights help reduce the risk of accidents to auditor.
According to Ovaska-Few (2017), although drone use in accounting and auditing is a success, there are areas in the field of accounting that are threatened. The introduction of drones threatens existing employment opportunities. The devices are fitted with state of art technology that enables them to monitor and record events as they progress swiftly and with less energy saving manual labor. Thus most of the work that is currently done physically such as stock counts will be done by drones thus rendering such employees redundant. This application of artificial intelligence by accounting firms has reduced the number of graduates employed. However, skills for graduates with knowledge in computer science and data will be in high demand though these are few compared to the number that was previously employed. Sampling is a technique utilized in auditing to select subsets of individuals from a population to make estimates of the population. This method that has been used in the auditing area for decades is on the verge of extinction as the drone can record events as they occur, collecting comprehensive data..
Unskilled drone operators pose physical safety issues, especially where the devices have crashed in parks or stadiums. Flying them near airports has also been restricted since they would cause dangerous situations due to possible interruptions of communications and collisions with the airplanes. There is worry that terrorists may use these devices to launch attacks thereby affecting the safety of the citizens which is a concern to the Federal Aviation Administration. The use of drones in parks, recreational facilities, events, and festivals is restricted unless the user obtains a permit.
The Federal Aviation Administration has restrictions that limit full operationalization of drones. These include restrictions on flying them beyond speeds of 100mph and in areas where there are people. Also, operating drones commercially requires licensed pilots by the regulator. The process is cumbersome due to the necessary paperwork process (Sagepub.com, 2017).
Drones are fitted with cameras, and when flying, they capture images thus flying them over private property, conducting surveillance on such area and taking photos raises concerns about privacy. Although this information may not be used in a bad way, there needs an implementation of privacy protections. This privacy issue limits data collection for auditors hence may limit their scope.
In conclusion, the accounting and auditing profession benefits mostly from the use of drones as they help in projects monitoring and large-scale projects inspections. The benefits are through cost saving, improved business models, improved decision making and fastened processes. Accounting firms that want to incorporate the use of drones in their auditing platform need to liaise with companies that specialize with drones to examine the existing capabilities. Also, they have to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration rules and the state level regulation to maintain a safe ground under which they operate their drones to avoid license cancellation.
Large accounting firms like Price Water House Coopers have adopted drone technology by establishing drone powered solutions. The establishment has enabled the company to benefit in two ways through consultancy services it offers its clients that intend to integrate drone use in its operations and also through data collection for its audit function. It is evident that shift in the commercial market is about to take a turn with the introduction of drone.
Ovaska-Few. S, (January 23, 2017). Drones set to invade accounting profession. New rules on drone use open up opportunities for firms of all sizes. Retrieved from http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/newsletters/2017/jan/drones-invade-accounting-profession.html#sthash.hzhTbLDK.dpuf
Commercial Drones SAGE Business Researcher. (2017). Businessresearcher.sagepub.com. Retrieved 8 March 2017, from http://businessresearcher.sagepub.com/sbr-1775-98070-2712846/20160118/commercial-drones
About us. (2017). PwC. Retrieved 8 March 2017, from http://www.pwc.pl/en/drone-powered-solutions/about-us.html
Guest Blogger (Sep 16, 2016). Drones on the Horizon for CPA Firms in 2017
Zach Simeone. Z, (Nov 18, 2016). Data Analytics Could Boost Pay as Firms Weave AI, Drones Into Auditing Processes
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