KPMG invests in cognitive technologies for professional services

By Business Review Australia Staff

KPMG has announced plans to further increase its cognitive capabilities and apply IBM Watson cognitive computing technology to a range of its professional services offerings in Australia.

The ‘Participation Agreement’, signed today between KPMG Australia and IBM Australia, extends on existing agreements in the USA and UK, with other member firms likely to follow.

It includes a focus on audit and assurance services. KPMG intends to introduce cognitive technology to these and other offerings, in a move designed to further enhance its focus on quality and insights.

Auditing is particularly suited to cognitive technology because of the increasing challenge to tackle immense volumes of structured and unstructured data related to a company’s financial and non-financial information. Cognitive technology’s exponential data analysis capabilities can transform how critical decisions are made and the level of assurance which can be provided.

Duncan McLennan, KPMG’s National Managing Partner of Audit in Australia said: “Already, data and analytics techniques are transforming audit by allowing analysis of much bigger populations of data than traditional sampling from which to draw conclusions. Cognitive technology will allow us to build on these data and analytics advances. They will be a game changer in how the value of audit is perceived by the marketplace.”

KPMG’s use of IBM Watson technology will accelerate teams’ ability to analyse and act on core financial and operational data central to the health of organisations and the capital markets. Cognitive technology enables greater collaboration between humans and systems, providing the ability to communicate in natural language and analyse massive amounts of data to deliver insights more quickly. Watson integrates machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies into a scalable system that can be accessed through a range of applications.

“We believe we are nearing a tipping point where the use of automation tools, machine learning and data analytics will provide significant enhancements to the range of services and the depth of insights we can provide to clients. Today’s announcement complements the firm’s investment focus around innovation and disruption,” said Ken Reid, KPMG Australia’s National Managing Partner for Innovation.

“We’ve been bolstering our capabilities in a range of emerging technologies through acquisitions. We’ve also recently launched a new practice, Solution 49x, to help clients harness the power of cognitive and artificial intelligence. And we’ve formed a number of significant strategic alliances locally and globally,” he added.

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Read the June 2016 issue of Business Review Australia and Asia magazine


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