Joe Ucuzoglu (Uch-uh-zog-loo?) will replace Cathy Engelbert as CEO of Deloitte & Touche, the firm's audit practice. An unremarkable announcement in and of itself, however, Joe U. does say something that is somewhat remarkable:
“Building upon Deloitte's legacy of exceptional service to the capital markets, we will lead the audit profession into the future. The use of technology is transforming the audit process, allowing us to deliver enhanced levels of quality, deeper insights, and greater value to clients. Innovation—a word that has not often been associated with audit—is a key differentiator for our firm."
"Innovation" is one those words thrown around so often that no one even takes notice any more. "Oh, you're innovating? That sounds interesting!" If your trumped up press release or statement doesn't include some form of "innovate" you've failed PR 101 and you consider handing out fliers for your local hipster venue.
But Joe admits it — "audit" and "innovation" never collide in the same sentence, which is why this is intriguing-ish. His comments echo Cathy Engelbert's that she made when the firm announced her election as CEO of the U.S. firm. She spoke of "artificial intelligence, machine reading, as well as data analytics around assessing risk in a better way to really deliver our audits."
Two executive announcements in less than a month hinting at auditing going all Jetsons on us?! This strikes me as serious.
Which begs the question — Will auditing, dare I say it, become valuable, again? Or will these "innovations" just be louder bells and whistles, tacked on the same old commodity service? Who's in the know? Who has theories? Or just wild-ass guesses? What's this glitzy future of audit going to be? WE MUST KNOW.