IBM Watson

How KPMG uses AI to Empower their auditors

April 30, 2018
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Keeping up with innovation in a centuries-old industry is no easy task, which is why KPMG, one of the Big Four audit, tax, and advisory firms, has launched a cognitive lab. Among other things, our goal is to invest in advanced technologies and integrate them into our audit practice to continue to deliver a high-quality audit. In today’s digital world, where information is ubiquitous, and volumes of data are exploding, artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as Watson will enable KPMG’s professionals to make sense of digital data and fulfill our important responsibilities to investors, the capital markets, audit committees and management.

Consider the auditor of yesteryear, armed with thick ledgers, pencils, and calculators — entering and computing all financial data by hand. If mistakes were made or errors occurred, significant manual effort was necessary to discover the anomaly and deal with the consequences. The invention of computerized databases and spreadsheets streamlined and elevated the process. For the auditor of today, tools like Excel have become indispensable.

AI-enabled technology is the next step in that evolution, allowing auditors to extract key information from larger data sets faster and with higher confidence than today. Arduous and time-consuming processes that humans currently handle (like data accumulation and preparation) could be significantly reduced or eventually handled entirely by automated systems.

KPMG is committed to a culture of innovation, and we are excited to invest in our professionals, enabling them to be successful in today’s digital environment. That success relies on staying ahead of disruptive technologies and embracing them to build stronger critical thinking, data science, and IT skills to complement their financial and business acumen. The auditor of tomorrow will be empowered to direct AI-augmented processes in solving difficult and specific business problems. These tools not only help with processing data, but also augment an auditor’s decision-making, generating richer, more detailed audit evidence, and providing actionable insights about process and accounting practices.

The propagation and correct implementation of these tools will enable an auditor to spend less time analyzing volumes company financial data to discover errors or anomalies, and more time where human judgment is most needed: In assessing next steps, critically evaluating anomalies, exercising judgment, and providing deeper views into a company’s risks, controls, and operating environment.

KPMG looks to using Watson and other AI to drive higher-confidence outcomes, greater insight, and employee empowerment, and we are committed to investing in resources that enable a high-quality audit.


KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (, is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s member firms have 200,000 professionals, including more than 10,000 partners, in 154 countries.

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This blog originally appeared in IBM Watson Blog.