5G and Audit

How smartphones and devices will revolutionise the future of business and our services

By Alessandro Miolo and Fabien Lussu, Audit & Assurance Partners at Deloitte Switzerland

The next era of digitalisation has clearly begun. The All IP transformation in Switzerland is nearing completion and we are entering a 5G-powered world. High bandwidth now supports large data transfers in minimal time and with high efficiency. This creates use-cases for big data streaming, and provides a foundation for embedding Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our mobile devices.

In our recent research, we found that 45 per cent of workers within the European Union are able to use a smart device as their primary or only work device. This is consistent with expectations that the strong growth in smartphone usage will continue over the next five years, driven by business use.

For numerous services and processes, such as retail store operations, restaurant services, health care, sales and field maintenance, smartphones and mobile devices can be used to process routine administrative tasks, such as timesheet management, job allocation, invoicing and payment approvals. This enables faster - and in certain cases more detailed - transmission of such information.

Currently, many businesses operate with outdated processes that tie employees to fixed workstations or point-of-sale devices, with limited or delayed information flows. Mobile devices could provide competitive advantage for firms through huge gains in efficiency. These exciting advances promise a big step forward in the way that work is performed and businesses are organised.

New business models on the rise

Digital solutions will affect most jobs and processes, and job descriptions will need to be rewritten or created over the coming years. In line with these advances, new business models will be developed. Especially, technology and telecommunication companies need to stay ahead of the game in a fast changing market. With the availability of high bandwidth through 5G, there will be rapid changes in IT applications and such business models for media and entertainment.

Smartphones in audit: We are transforming traditional practices

Deloitte’s audit practice relies on accurate real-time data insights. With highly skilled professional audit teams working on different engagements and client sites throughout Switzerland, supported by an international network of member firms and expertise, a well-coordinated mobile toolkit is essential for the day-to-day management of our Swiss audit practice.

We know that personal interaction with our clients and our network is of paramount importance for quality audits. Nevertheless, we aim to deliver the best service possible by providing a state-of-the-art technological environment for our professionals. All relevant audit technologies are accessible on the move, via laptops, iPads or smartphones.

One example of how we are achieving this is our inventory observation solution, iCount. This innovative tool scans barcodes directly, capture pictures of inventory that is being counted and uses voice-to-text technology to record results and observation directly on mobile devices. This data is then transmitted to the audit team in real time – aggregating and reconciling inventory records in multiple count locations.

Deloitte is piloting the use of drones for remote sensing of large-scale infrastructure and construction sites: these will transfer data and observations to mobile devices based on the iCount technology. After successful testing, we plan to take the audit in Switzerland to new heights.

We are also making changes to our own working environment in order to leverage fully upcoming technological advances such as live big data analytics, AI and blockchain for mobile, all based on the possibilities presented by 5G. This will enable us to share our first-hand experiences and insights directly with our clients, and deliver value at a faster pace.

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