Inflo brings data analysis to ICAEW examsby
Audit automation software specialist Inflo has reached an agreement with the ICAEW to beef up the data analysis elements of the institute’s professional education.
Inflo is an online suite with six modules that simplify key steps in the audit process, with customers encouraged to pick and mix the modules they want. The software takes transaction data from any accounting general ledger and processes it for deeper analysis.
Further AI tools are brought to bear to verify the data and identify unusual transactions that are likely to pose the greatest risk. The software can visualise relationships in financial data and automatically generate financial performance indicators that can be benchmarked against peer-group data.
Responding to feedback from employers on the need for accountants to have better data analysis skills, the ICAEW released a statement this week detailing how it was collaborating with Inflo to incorporate the software into its audit and assurance and corporate reporting exams.
The institute sought out Inflo as a visual platform to help students to review company data and interpret the results.
Inflo will help the ICAEW’s Learning and Professional Development team create client scenarios for exam situations beginning in 2021. The new approach will be reflected in 2021 learning materials due for publication in September 2020. Once the data analysis techniques have been incorporated into audit and corporate reporting modules, the institute said it would look at expanding the methods into other areas.
An ACA himself, Inflo co-founder Mark Edmondson said that incorporating emerging technology into the qualification would ensure it continued to attract trainees and equip them for long and successful careers.
As Sage, another pioneering north eastern accounting software developer, found in the 1980s, training the next generation of accountants and auditors on their product can be a very powerful vehicle for gaining new business.
One to watch
Inflo has enjoyed a rapid rise since it was founded in 2016 by former PwC accountants Mark Edmondson and Graham Clark. Their ambition was to bring Big Four tech capabilities to a wider market.
The software’s original focus was to streamline audit processes, but following its early successes, the company has expanded the product range with new reporting, ratio and KPIs capabilities.
The ICAEW collaboration caps an eventful year for the Sunderland-based developer, which has been building up its presence among mid-size firms such as HLB, MHA MacIntyre Hudson and Henderson Logie over the past 12 months.
Some of those firms have opened the door to large international networks like Baker Tilly, which brought Inflo to the attention of Thompson Reuters. Accounting software consultant and commentator Dermot Hamblin has been watching Inflo’s rapid growth for the past couple of years and told AccountingWEB: “The deal with Thomson Reuters came about because Inflo had something they didn’t. It opened up a wider market.
“It’s a very good company – definitely one to watch.”
Henderson Loggie Head of Audit Gavin Black collaborated with Inflo for more than a year to test and refine the software. After commiting to using Inflo throughout his firm’s audit team, he commented: “Our decision to embed Inflo software into our audit process means our clients now have access to the same transformative computing power as global accountancy firms and will take comfort from the greater assurance and broader insight it brings.”
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AccountingWEB’s Editor at large has been with the site since 1999, rising from news editor to editor in chief, global editor and head of insight. As a roving editor, he continues to investigate the profession's use of technology around the world. He devotes his spare time to technology history and an oddball collection of stringed instruments...