Audit courts rely on artificial intelligence

Sifting through large amounts of data, tracking irregularities and identifying improvements; An auditor’s job can often require extensive review of files before getting to the heart of the matter. The State Audit Office (LRH) of Upper Austria now wants to prepare the use of artificial intelligence to make the job easier and at the same time more accurate. Two projects submitted to APA by LRH director Rudolf Hoscher are ongoing.

When Hoscher took office at the beginning of 2023, he announced that he wanted to speed up audit processes using, among other things, digitalization and artificial intelligence; This will not only ease the burden on auditors but also create added value for taxpayers. . This process has now started. The “Phoenix” project aims to improve financial statements, etc. using data analysis and artificial intelligence. He is interested in the question of how to control it more easily and accurately. Topics are listed and visualized in dashboards; This makes it easier to understand whether trends are emerging or whether there are deviations worth a closer look. “Why department? This makes the job of auditors significantly easier. This gives you a quicker overview of where you need to keep your eye, and you won’t have to spend days poring over files to get an idea of ​​potential problem areas.

We’re working with the state’s IT department here, Hoscher says. Specifically, data from financial statements from 2020 to 2022 will be used to train the AI ​​in a secure environment, “nothing on servers, nothing in the cloud.” For this purpose, LRH is working with the company Fivesquare at JKU. This developed a Large Language Model called “Karli”. Karli is currently working with previously published data and is proving successful. As an example, Hoscher cited a recently published test report on heating boiler replacement financing in Upper Austria. Asked if he found any contradiction in this, Karli replied: “No, but the approach is not compatible with climate goals.” Something that LRH also criticized.

Moreover, the Upper Austrian LRH, together with seven other state audit offices and the Vienna City Audit Office, has applied for funding from the EU TSI fund and they have been pre-selected, meaning they can undertake a commitment, Hoscher is optimistic. A six-figure sum is expected to finance the entire project. The OECD will handle this. It’s a sort of fact-finding mission. The specific question of the project titled “AI-ready public administration” is: “What artificial intelligence tools are available worldwide that deal with data analysis and auditing, that is, systematic controls?”

The expectation is that you no longer need to read thousands of protocols or emails; AI will do this in the future. This won’t replace the auditor, of course, but rather the auditor will have more resources to focus on the fundamentals and dig deep, Hoscher says. After all, if you can search for a particular aspect in, say, a company’s supervisory board minutes in just a few minutes, this is a “significant time savings”.

“The type of testing will change fundamentally in the coming years,” the LRH director expects. However, many issues need to be clarified from a data protection perspective. For example, it is not allowed to associate data from one exam with data from another. The Artificial Intelligence Act must also be complied with and data regarding AI training must be stored securely. On its homepage, Fivesquare emphasizes that data is hosted locally in Austria and is not transmitted to servers in the US or outside the EU.

(APA)

Source: Vienna

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