How Drones are Used in Audits

Drones are being used in audits and experience with them is developing. So far, much of the use is in physical inspection of assets. A prime area of usage is for inventory count attendance.

Drones are being used to fly over the inventory area, often large yards, and take pictures of the stock. Data is developed to describe the pictures and the auditor has a comprehensive body of evidence to support physical evidence and often its condition. With drones, 100% of the stock can be observed and counted, which beats the taking of samples from a quality of evidence viewpoint.

Drones can also be used to observe other physical assets, like plants and buildings, fleets of vehicles, etc. There have been situations in the past where fixed assets in hard-to-access areas were on the books but eventually found to not even exist.

Auditors are finding that the actual purchase of a drone is the easiest part of the process. Drone operators need training. The data generated by a drone needs to be properly stored and analyzed.

It’s like a lot of technological solutions. There is a need for new skills both in handling the technology and in data analysis. But the benefits to audit evidence are considerable.

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