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Case Study • 24/01/2024

How Deloitte enhances their risk analysis during the audit process using Signal AI

“Using the key stories functionality, it really enhances insight”

  • Deloitte has enhanced their audit risk sensing process by harnessing Signal AI’s
    External Intelligence data.
  • Signal AI’s Key Stories feature has further augmented Deloitte’s efforts to make the
    QA process for audit risk sensing more efficient.

The aim of the Digital Risk Solutions team at Deloitte is to identify and implement
technologies that augment or differentiate the risk analysis performed by teams across
Deloitte. The Audit Analytics team is dedicated to ensuring audit outputs and processes are
data driven and accurate. Together these teams have partnered to introduce cutting edge AI
technology to the audit process, to enhance audit risk analysis.

Quality and comprehensiveness for audit excellence

Audit quality, especially completeness and comprehensiveness, is essential for auditors as
their goal is to thoroughly perform audit risk analysis .  Traditionally much of the audit
process looks at internal data—information generated by the subject of the audit—including
transaction data, financial performance, payroll, accounts payable and so on. But an internal
view often falls short of the full story due to innocent yet inherent navel gazing or in rare
cases, intentional deception. To combat this, for years Deloitte has looked to external data to
enhance their audit risk assessment.

Before using Signal AI, this meant that the audit teams would conduct a Google search, a
manual and time-consuming task, reducing valuable team resources. It was challenging for
the team to comb through the sheer scale of information available on the internet in multiple
languages. As Jeroen de Wert, Senior Product Lead on the Digital Risk Solutions Team,
puts it, “For one client you can get 50,000 or 100,000 thousand articles over a year  […] you
cannot analyze every article one by one so that’s why we have set up our own topic
framework, using Signal AI’s key topics to see (for example) a peak in January related to
cyber issues at the client”.

As an example, a large company operates in multiple countries and has several sub-brands
and subsidiaries. A large number of Google searches would be required to capture articles
which have impacted the organization over the last audit period. It would also be hard to
validate that the Google searches have surfaced the most relevant coverage around
significant events and developments for the organization. With the Signal AI platform, all
content is also translated into English for a more frictionless workflow and capturing the
stories that matter, regardless of language.

In the development of this solution, Deloitte experts trained more than 20 bespoke audit risk
topics which align to Deloitte’s audit risk sensing framework, including those related to
compliance, legal disputes and cyber risks. Using these topics, Deloitte is able to scan and
structure media coverage about audit clients using a Deloitte lens augmented by AI across
millions of sources in online media, print and broadcast, and regulatory updates about the
auditee’s companies from the 175+ jurisdictions and 75+ languages covered by Signal AI.

The AI powered search with trained entities and topics means that relevant articles are
surfaced:

  • without needing to search for multiple variations of keywords related to a topic
  • are structured precisely against Deloitte’s audit risk sensing framework as new
    content is published
  • can be reviewed within this structure for any time period within Signal AI’s archive as
    aligned with audit periods

Articles of interest are summarized by a dedicated delivery team and provided to auditors
with headlines and links in an easy to read format, who then review these to see if further
action is required with the auditee. This supports having more meaningful conversations with
the auditee and has the potential to help flag topics that might be relevant to the audit earlier
on.

Identifying the events that are driving coverage

Google searches were unstructured and produced results of wildly varying accuracy. Signal
AI AI-powered searches brought Deloitte one step further. Key Stories has taken audit
quality and comprehensiveness one step further, by identifying not just articles but the
underlying stories themselves driving the coverage.

Signal AI’s Key Stories feature shows the top storylines for a subject of interest, so users
can quickly understand the key narratives affecting an industry or brand.

The Audit Analytics team provides the results of Signal AI research to over 50 audit teams
around the world; Key Stories is used to “help reduce down from a huge number of media
scans and articles available online, to more relevant ones that are more helpful or that would
give them an outside-in picture of their entities” according to Mayank Raj, Specialist Senior
on the Audit Analytics team.

With Key Stories, the exponentially large number of Google searches needed to not only
capture articles but also a higher level understanding of the stories that have impacted the
organization over the last year, is achieved with just a few clicks. Signal AI’s key stories
make it easy to understand higher level topics or themes to quickly identify what has
unfolded and how it impacted the organization, which can then be drilled into to closely
examine, allowing the team to help prioritize their research efforts to make the QA process
more efficient. 

Audit risks: surfacing the unknown unknowns

It’s easy to conduct research when you know what you’re looking for but crisis often comes
from out of the blue, leaving a business unprepared. Signal AI’s trained entities and topics
allows the team to proactively spot unknown risks, “that’s why we use the key stories
functionality as a quality check […] to see if there are other things popping up which we didn’t
know which are outside our topic framework which are worthwhile noting to the audit
teams”.

This information is used as a key step in the final QA audit risk assessment process, to
double check that relevant risks and threats to the audited business have been captured,
giving Deloitte greater confidence in the quality of their output. Confidence in the completeness of this QA comes from:

1. 5M articles per day in 75 languages, ensuring they don’t miss the stories that matter

2. AI technology (in contrast to outdated Boolean or Google searches) means important and

3. Signal AI presents a comprehensive view of a market landscape including emerging
topics associated with industry peers in the click of a button.

Future product development

Following on from the success of Key Stories, Signal AI will further explore the application of
the Signal AI Topic Analysis feature as a starting point for auditors in understanding the
broader landscape of threats in an industry’s market and within that emerging trends for
auditees and their peers.

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