Bridging the Gap: Keys to Embracing AI in 2024

The emergence of ChatGPT in November of 2022 caused a sonic boom across every tech industry in the world. Since then, companies of all sizes have explored use cases for implementing AI into their operations. However, some sectors have been slower with adoption, namely compliance.

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In fact, a Moody’s report that surveyed compliance and risk leaders and professionals shows that only 9% of firms actively use AI, and 21% aren’t considering using it at all.

This isn’t shocking news. A recent E&Y report said, “Historically, compliance professionals have treated technological innovation with skepticism.” It’s easy to understand why an industry rooted in transparency, honesty, and ethics is reluctant to adopt an early-stage technology that is particularly riddled with biases and ethical dilemmas. Plus, the regulatory and legal outlook for AI is still quite murky, making it harder to implement it confidently.

AI is uncharted territory for most companies, and some in compliance might prefer to avoid it while the technology is still new. However, the more it evolves, the more it becomes clear that AI adds critical business value when used responsibly for certain tasks — especially within professional services firms that have struggled to implement digital transformation and continue to rely on manual, outdated processes.

Let’s explore how auditors can embrace AI, enabling them to create process efficiencies and free up time to add value to customers.

Streamlining Processes Without Sacrificing Quality

Several compliance practices can be streamlined with AI. Whether auditors are using compliance software that has recently rolled out AI functionalities or general tools like ChatGPT, there’s value in automating certain processes.

For starters, there’s surface-level automation like virtual meeting summaries and transcription on demand. This is a simple yet significant first step for firms to dip their toes into AI without fearing biased outcomes. Tools like Fathom AI Notetaker simply process the information and present it in a summarized and organized way. They can do this accurately and quickly, with a built-in human approval layer to eliminate the occasional mistranslation, and the details are searchable to find the exact moment in a call you want to remember.

Dropping the need to feverishly take notes (and the accompanying anxiety of forgetting a follow-up) clears your head to identify opportunities to add value and build stronger relationships with your clients.

Many of the mundane and frustrating aspects of compliance, such as performing vendor reviews, inspecting policies, and completing security questionnaires, are coming into the AI fold to speed up and simplify these processes. These tasks may give security professionals nightmares, but they’re not the risks that keep the CISO up at night.

By taking advantage of AI tools, companies are able to get rid of repetitive checklist procedures and focus on the areas of their security program that truly matter.

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When it’s done right, the time saved from this technology is re-invested in adding value and strengthening other areas of the business. Speed and turnaround time are the obvious benefits, but firms can also drive improvements in quality and general engagement amongst their team. The energy wasted trying to write that perfect paragraph in a client deliverable — that may or may not get read at all — is suddenly accessible to deploy toward your passions.

Advocating for AI in the industry doesn’t mean blindly trusting it.

Firms must carefully vet the tools they use and those of their business partners so they are comfortable with their safety and accuracy. The technology is breathtaking, but it still makes many mistakes, meaning auditors still need to participate in the inputs and outputs.

Adding Modern Business Value

Moody’s report also revealed that 9 out of 10 companies using AI for compliance have seen a positive impact on risk management. In today’s digital age, staying competitive is made possible through emerging technologies.

Besides saving time by streamlining paperwork, chatting with a bot to answer compliance questions, and automating document classification, AI tools make it easy to delegate client-facing tasks like simpler form completion. Time and accuracy are of the essence. So, it’s evident why clients would prefer a firm that uses and values these new technologies instead of one with more traditional approaches.

Moreover, the key for firms in adopting AI and other new technologies is education. Employees need to understand the why and how behind each technology, how to use it, and the expected results. Once stakeholders decide AI is right for them, they can roll out dedicated training sessions for employees to get acquainted with the specific tools they need and maximize their daily operations.

Human input is critical to quality AI output, so this step can’t be overlooked.

How Auditors Can Embrace the Right AI For Them

Compliance software companies are well aware of the high level of transparency their industry requires. As a result, they build trust with their customers by addressing data privacy concerns and being open about the inner workings of their AI tools — avoiding the infamous black-box aspect of many AI-powered services.

The compliance management platforms that have implemented AI tools have delivered comprehensive information explaining their AI philosophy in tandem with the release of their AI tools. They discuss processes like encryption to ensure sensitive data stays secure, monitoring outcomes to reduce biases, and extensive testing to provide clients with a reliable and secure tool.

The keys to taking the leap into AI include understanding the technology behind each tool, how and where the information comes from, and how it is protected. If a software company isn’t transparent about this information, it should be a red flag. Making informed decisions on which tools to implement will set companies up for success — they must know they’re not cutting corners with this technology but rather adopting more efficient, agile, and precise methodologies into their compliance examinations.

Feeling comfortable experimenting with new technologies gives compliance firms a competitive advantage in an industry that is slow to change. AI tools aren’t the immediate end-all-be-all for the profession, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see use cases expand in the near future. Given the current trajectory, this technology may assist in report writing and evidence review in the same way a calculator assists in preparing a tax return.

From what we’ve seen with AI in the past year, it’s safe to say it is an everchanging technology that will probably never be fully developed; it will take on new forms as technology advances. Those who choose to stay on the sidelines, waiting for innovations to develop into their final form, might never find the right time to engage with AI tools. The truth is, the time is now.

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