ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND AUDITING INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE AMONG THE BIG FOUR AUDIT FIRMS
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This study came as a necessity to address the inherent challenges facing accounting and auditing profession in Nigeria. The research is principally aimed at addressing the traditional auditing process and provide appropriate decision-making recommendations that will greatly improve the overall accounting information in firms. The study is divided into five chapters namely; the first chapter covers the background of study, the statement of the problem, the purpose of study as well as the aims and objective, significant and scope of the study, justification of the study, and definition of terms. In chapter two, the researcher focuses on the review of related literature as it is related to the research topic and some literature reviews including journals and what other scholars has done on artificial intelligence and auditing industry performance among auditing firms. In chapter three, the researcher indicated the methodology that will be adopted for the study; also it was in chapter four that the adopted research methodology was analyzed and findings of the study revealed. In the last chapter, the researcher discussed the result obtained from data analysis in chapter four and also a useful and constructive recommendations was put down so that any interested party may be well guided.
Background to the Study
The global proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) in the 21st century, is a proof that computers will replace human decision-making in the next 20 to 30 years. The 21st century era is an age of automation where accounting practice happens to be one of the industries at the forefront of this automation. In a revolving world that is becoming more technology centric, it is most appropriate to consider the ramifications of creating various forms of life from the revolving technological advancement. Among such disruptive technology that is changing operation of the world is Artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence alters the total lifecycle of auditing and accounting. This result in the whole auditing and accounting process, the recording, manipulation, and interpretation of transactional data, to be done by software, with minimized reliance on manual transactional entries by people (Francis, 2013).
John McCarthy and other computer experts first proposed the concept of “artificial intelligence” in 1956 at the University of Dartmouth seminar in the United States, marking the birth of artificial intelligence “AI” (Wang, 2017). Artificial intelligence is simply the application of computational tools to address tasks traditionally requiring human sophistication (Financial Stability Board, 2017). The most comprehensive definition of Artificial Intelligence was coined by McCarthy in 1956. According to the father of Artificial Intelligence John McCarthy, AI is “The science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. Artificial Intelligence is a way of making a computer, computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently, in the similar manner the intelligent humans think. Artificial Intelligence is an experimental branch of computer science that pursues its goal of creating an intelligent machine that can perform diverse tasks by using its intelligence.
The various functions of artificial intelligent allows auditors to automate a number of tasks such as reviewing source documents (example bank check, deposit slip, sales invoice), processing paper work, analyzing conference calls, emails, press release, news, and extract metadata from them, all of which could be additional supporting evidence used to supplement traditional financial attributes. These functions serve financial statement analysis, which is a comprehensive task. When accountants analyze financial reports, the machine scans and identifies each account and its balance and links these numbers to the related supporting evidences automatically, thus enabling the detection of irregularities (Issa, 2016). New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are perfect for automating routine auditing work when compared to humans. Auditors must improve processing capability while maintaining the efficacy and reliability of the audit process as a result of constantly expanding data. One strategy for achieving this goal is to use Artificial Intelligence-based technology to automate previously manual operations.
Auditing is a systematic way of gathering and evaluating objective evidence about economic acts and occurrences in order to establish the degree of conformance between those assertions and predetermined standards, as well as publicizing the results to interested parties. The job of an accountant in the design and maintenance of accounting systems is clearly distinguished by this definition from that of an auditor. Data can be mined and used with Artificial Intelligence to gain a better understanding of the audit process at various stages. An auditor can easily collect data from a variety of sources to produce insights and communicate actively with internal and external stakeholders when obtaining audit evidence (Al-Sayyeda et al., 2021). Extant literatures has it that, employing Artificial Intelligence in the audit process can assist with three things: (1) having a deeper grasp of the client’s operations and the risks they pose, (2) improving the detection of material misstatements, and (3) enhancing communication techniques with those in charge of governance (Elliot et al., 2020; Law & Shen, 2020; Elliott et al., 2020). Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is applicable in virtually all aspects of auditing operation which has generated fear and concern among professionals on the possible continual relevance human accountants in organization’s scheme of affairs in the nearest future.
Statement of Research Problem
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