Date posted: 08/07/2020 5 min read

Growing client value through software and AI

In the face of an increasingly complex compliance landscape, a simple interface is often the best. Brought to you by Inflo.

Compliance can be a tricky business. The stakes are high, the work precise and the relationship with the client often conducted at a remove of two or three steps. Add to that a rapidly evolving regulatory backdrop and shifting technological goalposts and it’s little wonder that audit teams so frequently feel like they’re on the back foot.

“The biggest thing we hear from auditing departments is that the entire process is marked by frustrations and delays,” says Olwyn Connolly, chief customer officer at software provider Inflo.

Procuring data from the client, turning it into a ready-to-use format, running tests, getting files together, submitting them for review: every step requires new processes and time-consuming back-and-forth.

“Inflo bridges the relationship gap by using advanced technology and cloud computing to bring the auditing process to life,” Connolly says.

Inflo software

An easy-to-use platform

Founded in the UK in 2016 by a team of former Big Four auditors, Inflo emerged out of a shared hunger for change with the accounting industry’s relationship to technology. Its software now helps accounting firms deliver assurance, tax and advisory engagements while also identifying opportunities to provide more value to clients through additional services.

“It had always been assumed that there were certain technologies and techniques that only the biggest firms could afford to use,” says Connolly. “We wanted to level the playing field by making these tools available to everyone.”

For Inflo, this meant developing an easy-to-use, collaborative platform to enable clients, engagement teams and auditing departments to share information, data and analysis in real-time. Inflo’s interface is simple, but beneath the hood it contains an impressively deep and fully featured set of data analytics tools, taking in everything from variance analysis and model testing through to transaction identification, KPI assessment and on-the-spot peer benchmarking.

“Being accountants ourselves, we knew how common it was for new software to sit there unused due to an excessively steep learning curve,” says Connolly. “We wanted Inflo to be different.”

“Being accountants ourselves, we knew how common it was for new software to sit there unused due to an excessively steep learning curve. We wanted Inflo to be different.”
Olwyn Connolly

Key to that goal is a comprehensive plug-and-play capability – Inflo integrates seamlessly with all accounting platforms – as well as a fully modular software design.

“We work hand-in-hand with accountants to determine exactly what parts of the Inflo package they need. The most important thing to us is it’s being used well and delivering benefits to customers and their clients.”

Inflo now serves more than 1000 accounting firms and networks across more than 25 countries and Connolly says that’s just the beginning.

“We want to put these capabilities in the hands of as many firms as possible, irrespective of size. It’s about helping the profession understand the power of this technology and giving them the skills and guidance to use them well.”

Development guided by users

Inflo’s growth and evolution is still being guided by the people who actually use the product: accountants. “We pride ourselves on our support systems and relationships with our customers,” says Connolly. “Our product roadmaps are constantly changing as we hear back from the people using our system.”

The company also works with professional and regulatory bodies, staying on top of what’s happening in the profession and delivering solutions at pace.

Connolly mentions one of Inflo’s latest features: a customisable, auto-generated report that enables teams to quickly prepare the results of testing and analysis. It’s ideal for audit committee reports or management letters.

“These letters might seem like a simple change, but we know how much documents like this help auditors tell the story to the regulators,” she says.

“For us, it’s not just about the flashy new features or cutting-edge AI. It’s about ensuring that the way firms use this technology saves them both time and money – and offers their clients a more rewarding experience.”

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