New York-based Deloitte (FY16 net revenue of $17.5 billion) and the Deloitte Foundation hosted the 2018 National Audit Innovation Campus Challenge (AICC) at Deloitte University, awarding students of the University of Arizona first place for its idea to develop and use a proprietary artificial intelligence application to conduct audits of corporate sustainability reports.
Guided by faculty advisors and Deloitte subject matter leaders, students were challenged to find new ways to bring audit and assurance services to the marketplace using technology. Student teams from 52 colleges and universities participated in the event, with 12 teams advancing to the final round.
“The nature of many professions is rapidly shifting. Technology, innovation and process improvement continues to disrupt and redefine the way an audit is conducted at an unprecedented rate,” says Erin Shannon, managing director, change management.
“It’s our people, however, that are our most valuable resource and it is critically important that the next-generation of talent possess proficiency with emerging technologies and data analytics, as well as help bring new innovative solutions to stakeholders,” says Shannon. “This competition provides opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and creativity to real challenges facing today’s auditors and this year’s winners showed innovative thinking.”
The University of Arizona team’s winning submission focused on a recommendation to enter the market of auditing corporate sustainability reports in anticipation of potential regulatory guidance in the coming years. The submission cited Deloitte’s position to conduct a sustainability audit and introduced an artificial intelligence tool, “Deloitte Danni,” that could help auditors measure an array of environmental metrics and compare those readings to sustainability guidance.
“The Deloitte Foundation’s approach to helping prepare students for careers is twofold,” says Erin Scanlon, audit and assurance partner and Deloitte Foundation board member. “In addition to initiatives like the ground-breaking AICC that engage students, longstanding programs such as the Trueblood seminars provide educators with insights and rich case examples they can bring to the classroom to help develop students’ technical, research and critical thinking skills, and help better prepare the next generation of leaders.”