AMBS has begun a management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) with nationwide accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers to help drive the firm’s digital transformation.
The 30-month programme will specifically aim to develop, embed and exploit smart data driven technologies within the audit function, enabling the business to increase the quality, productivity and capacity to deliver additional insight and value to clients.
Beever and Struthers Partner Michael Tourville said given that the business had been around for up to 125 years it was “quite traditional” in its approach, but it was now keen to embrace the opportunities that a truly digital transformation could offer.
“Although we are a firm with a long history, we are also an entrepreneurial business and are keen to grasp opportunities when we see them. This mKTP is all about giving our clients more insight and helping us navigate data far better too. The main improvements for us will come from increased efficiency and insight, but we will also be able to further improve the quality of the service we offer.”
He added that the programme would also be about using the data that is already available to the firm in a much smarter way and not using it isolation. “This is about using that data to inform decision-making, to pick out patterns, unlock the bigger picture, and tell a wider story.
“There are also really strong benefits for our clients too. Take the example of a business which is facing margin pressures. Improved data can help us deep dive into stock, pricing and costing issues for that business, pick out patterns, and help that company improve its own decision-making.”
As part of the mKTP, which is being run in collaboration with Aston University, AMBS will specifically assess the current data systems that Beever and Struthers employs, and then suggest specific methodologies which will align the mKTP with ongoing data systems at the firm.
Brian Nicholson, Professor of Information Systems at AMBS, said: “The mKTP will deliver digital transformation through business process reengineering of current audit services covering people, processes and the underlying systems and technology.”
The project has the following key activities:
- Understanding the firm’s business and audit function, including current use of technology.
- Researching the most advanced tools, techniques, and models across the marketplace suitable to deliver better automation and efficiency of processes.
- Support the utilisation of data analytics to deliver new business insights for internal decision-making and client insight.
- Work with vendors, auditors, and managers within the firm to apply the new capability to the firm's audit workflow.
- Organise and lead change management programmes sensitive to the needs of internal and external stakeholders.
- Present project findings to both academic and industry audiences.
Mr Tourville added that this was a very timely moment to be looking at its data systems given the huge changes sweeping the audit and business advisory industry.
“There is no doubt that the pandemic has driven both advisory firms and clients to endorse technology to a much wider degree. The move to hybrid and more flexible working continues to have a huge impact, and we see this in our own industry where the majority of audits are now carried out online rather than on-site. That has significant implications in terms of your entire data strategy.”
Pictured (l-r) are: Michael Tourville, Professor Brian Nicholson and Dr Sung Hwan Chai from AMBS, and George Salijeni, Lecturer in Accounting at Aston Business School.
A management Knowledge Transfer Partnership is built around identifying strategic management-based initiatives to increase business effectiveness and improve management practices. Find out more about our mKTP or KTP programmes available at Alliance Manchester Business School.
Read more about the work of our Centre for the Analysis of Investment Risk (CAIR) on the changing role of auditors in the context of data driven technologies.
Watch Michael's interview below: