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Image from the Thomson Reuters Cloud Audit Suite brochure
Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters debuts cloud audit software

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Financial giant Thomson Reuters has entered the UK audit software market with the launch of Cloud Audit Suite, a product the vendor calls the UK’s “first fully cloud-based end-to-end audit platform”.

24th May 2023
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In its first foray into the UK audit market, Thomson Reuters’ Cloud Audit Suite offers integration between audit methodology and workflows, and updates to templates for changes in audit standards with the aim of making compliance with the latest audit regulations more efficient for auditors.

Thomson Reuters’ general manager for tax and accounting professionals UK, Simon Brooking, explained to AccountingWEB that the company’s claim to offer the UK’s “first fully cloud-based end-to-end audit platform” is based on the fact its suite has everything in one place in the cloud: the platform, methodology and underlying document management.

“What we’re hearing from auditors is that they’re struggling with reliability issues, crashes and downtime,” said Brooking. “What we’re aiming to deliver with Cloud Audit Suite is a reliable and robust system without the overhead.”

Designed for UK-based limited companies and charities, not publicly listed companies, the American version of the Cloud Audit Suite has been online for some years and serves more than 1,500 customers in the US across a range of accounting firms.

“Covid highlighted the need for audit teams to work collaboratively from multiple locations,” said Brooking. “A true cloud audit pack will allow team members to all work on the same area of the audit file together, irrespective of where they’re located. The need was clear. We spotted a gap in the market for a true cloud system. Having had success in the US, the obvious thing was to bring it over to the UK.”

Tool efficiencies

Brooking flagged one of the system’s chief benefits as “true audit collaboration”, saying: “We’re allowing people to all work on the same part of the audit file rather than having to wait for documents to be unlocked.” 

Audit work is stored on the cloud, where multiple users can access individual projects from anywhere, with version control technology ensuring that only permitted individuals may edit audit documentation. Users can also monitor the progress of audit engagements, showing sections that have already been signed off.

Screenshot of Thomson Reuters Cloud Audit Suite product
Thomson Reuters

The tool allows firms to roll the previous year’s audit to the new year, with the ability to configure what type of information is brought forward (for example, the previous year’s comments) and select who can see which information.

Multiple templates are available as part of the system, and users can also opt to receive practical considerations – help, tips and prompts for junior members of staff about what should be going in each section for the audit, which can also act as a reminder for more senior staff. 

The software provides integration with Thomson Reuters’ own accounts production software and also offers to ability to import a trial balance from almost any system. The product also integrates with Thomson Reuters Confirmation, the vendor’s global platform for audit firms to verify financial data as part of the audit process.

Auditors can use the tool’s materiality worksheet to calculate the correct materiality to use for their clients. This flows through to the other areas of the system, for example planning substantive procedures for the appropriate sample sizes to use. This has been designed to save users time by avoiding re-entering the same information.

Users can set up their own lead schedules in Excel and map source data from Cloud Audit Suite, including static data and figures from the trial balance to auto-populate the schedule. The lead schedules can also be applied to other clients and in other years, and this auto-populate function will automatically extract the information from a different client or year and set up the lead schedule.

In-built methodology

One of the key selling points of the new audit tool is that it comes with its own methodology. 

“We don’t have to wait for third-party methodologies to be published whenever regulations change,” said Brooking. “We have our own that we’ve built from scratch into our tool. As soon as a new regulation comes out we can include it straightaway and don’t have to wait for someone else.”

Kathryn Cearns, former chair of the Office for Tax Simplification and of the ICAEW Financial Reporting Committee was a major contributor to the audit methodology.

AccountingWEB view

Cloud Audit Suite is a welcome addition to the limited choice of audit solutions – in particular cloud-based audit solutions – in the UK market. It’s also nice to hear from Thomson Reuters again after a period of radio silence following the launch of its Onvio cloud tools in 2019.  

While the ability to collaborate with multiple team members on an audit could bring firms’ tech into the 21st century and offers multiple efficiency opportunities, in the cautious, relatively slow-moving world of audit it may take time for the tool to win over the trust of the UK auditors.

Replies (3)

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John Toon
By John Toon
25th May 2023 11:11

the UK’s “first fully cloud-based end-to-end audit platform”

I bet the team at Inflo might contest that...

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Replying to johnt27:
Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
25th May 2023 14:08

Intriguing John. Does Inflo do its own UK methodology or use the likes of Mercia etc?

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Replying to TomHerbert:
John Toon
By John Toon
25th May 2023 15:38

They created their own (and avoided the ISA 315 mess everyone else appears to be caught in)

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