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programs, holding account balances, and feed
balances along with a range of other processes.
The further evolution of these products will see
more granular data being pulled through for
analysis; extraction of supporting documentation;
additional feeds information and much more.
THE VALUE OF DATA FEEDS
Most cloud SMSF administration software
programs can now receive a data feed,
automating data entry, saving time and greatly
improving productivity. The more reliable form
of data feeds are direct-connect feeds. These
differ to other styles of feed, as they come directly
from the financial institution into the software,
via an enterprisegrade, secure and encrypted
link. The feeds are purpose-designed and
provide highly reliable, encrypted data over
a point-to-point connection that cannot be
intercepted, lost or diverted.
With direct-connect data feeds, auditors
have a level of confidence about the source of
the data and can more easily trace the lifecycle of
As the prevalence and acceptance of data feeds
becomes more widespread, auditors will push for
certification of the veracity of the data feeds. This
means gaining comfort around the systems and
controls of the software provider with a view to
reducing the level of additional sample testing
AUDIT SUBMISSIONS, TRACKING
Evolution will continue as well for audit
submission, tracking and status functionality
with many audit providers now offering portal-
style experiences for the accountants and
administrators that they work with. These are
offered through custom built solutions and,
increasingly, off-the-shelf audit software.
This provides live updates as to the audits
submitted, their progress, history, and
This is seen as an area of ongoing development,
to enable easier submission such as the ability
to contextually trigger an audit from within the
administration software at the click of a button.
This will allow the administrator to submit a fund
to an audit partner as being ready for audit, track
the status and store the audit report and any
accompanying documents contextually for each
RISK ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS
Increasingly auditors are using APIs to pull
relevant data into their systems to perform risk
assessments, carry out calculations and further
analysis during the audit process. The ability to
access daily up to date information is incredibly
powerful and allows auditors to easily identify
issues, areas of risk and even select a more
proactive real-time approach to auditing.
AUDIT CHECKLISTS AND PROGRAMS
It is a commonly held view that the compliance
audit cannot be automated as this does require
the auditor to exercise their professional
judgement and due care. There is no replacement
for professional judgement but there are certainly
some elements of the checklist that could be
automatically populated. For example, some
trust deed details could be prepopulated with
inbuilt knowledge of a provider’s deeds and
versioning. This would act as a time saving tool
but would still require the auditor to review and
exercise professional judgement.
From a financial audit perspective, many of the
numerical checks, supporting documentation,
identification of irregularities, and verification of
balances can be automated through data feeds,
document storage and obtaining granular data
from software providers. There is of course further
work required for this to become widespread
automation but with tight constraints, strong
business rules, processes and workflows this style
of automation is not far away.
Technology cannot replace professional
judgement, but the efficiencies gained through
enabling solutions will likely shift auditor focus
in the future from a financial based audit to
Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act and
compliance focused audit.
One thing that is certain is that staying abreast
of technology improvements is now an intrinsic
part of the future SMSF audit process.
Kate Sheringham is the SMSF product
manager at Class.
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