This month we spoke with Audit Manager William Ko, who joined PPT more than a decade ago. William talks about how data analytics is enhancing the audit process (and leading to less paper cuts), and his passion for furniture making which provides the ideal escape from his weekly routine.
Where are you originally from?
Hong Kong. I moved to Australia in 2002 to commence my tertiary studies.
When did you join PPT?
June 2006 soon after graduating from the University of Ballarat.
Why did you choose the accounting/audit industry?
I first chose the commerce and accounting degree thinking that accounting is a doorstep to any other industry I may be interested in in the future, as all industries need accountants. Whilst it may still be true and that it has given me the opportunities to work with clients in various industries, I discovered over the years, and am even prepared to admit, that I enjoy the nuts and bolts of it.
Do you have any particular areas of expertise or interest?
Having worked in the audit industry, the areas that interest me the most are financial reporting and corporate governance.
What’s the biggest challenge facing clients right now?
The recent changes in accounting standards e.g. changes in relation to leases, revenue recognition, etc, that are already resulting in clients needing to change and update their finance policies and procedures. Whilst these changes are critical to ensure compliance with accounting standards, I found that they may be sometimes misconstrued by clients as unnecessary or burdensome as they do not have immediate benefits to their existing operation. The challenge is how to take this as an opportunity to refine and streamline financial procedures rather than treating the adoption of new accounting standards as a necessary evil.
How is technology changing the audit industry?
Advances in data analytic technology have provided us with more audit tools at our disposal to perform audit testing on large amounts of client data. With these tools, the same account balances can now be reviewed, tested and interpreted from a number of different perspectives at the same time, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of audit procedures. Finance and accounting records are increasingly recorded and communicated in electronic format, which has changed our day-to-day work from number crunching, digging through boxes of invoices and tying in figures with a red/green pen to arranging, analysing and interpreting large amounts of data, and electronic documents. These changes mean that auditors now need to be able to manage and make meaningful interpretations from data. Another positive – less paper cuts!
What keeps you busy away from work?
I spend a few weeks travelling overseas to my home town and at least one other country each year. I enjoy food from different parts of the world and admire the creative culinary skills of contemporary Australian chefs and baristas. So, when I am not overseas I will most likely be in a restaurant or café in Ballarat or Melbourne. I also enjoy working with wood, cutting mortice and tenon joints using hand tools. Furniture making in old fashioned ways is a wonderful hobby that gives you a break from technologies that are sometimes advancing in a pace too fast to catch.
To contact William call PPT on (03) 5331 3711 or complete our online enquiry form.