案例研究:美國 50 強公司 Rehmann 如何尋找審計未來路向

Rehmann is a top 50 firm (#38 on the 2018 Accounting Today list) with 24 offices across Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. Its firm-wide assurance department requests thousands of (primarily bank) confirmations every year. Initially, Rehmann rolled out the Confirmation platform to only a few offices, but once the faster confirmation replies and overall time savings became evident, use of Confirmation quickly expanded throughout the company and is now a tool that the entire assurance department, more than 200 auditors, relies on daily.

Rehmann 策略分析師 Brent Pruim

Brent Pruim, now a Strategic Analyst with Rehmann, started with the company as an auditor himself, managing audits and preparing tax returns. Today, he’s the tech liaison for his department, the leader of the information technology general controls team, and a member of his department’s IT subcommittee. In his current role, Pruim is responsible for leading the charge to ensure Rehmann is identifying the audit of the future. Pruim often speaks at industry events — for organizations like AICPA, the MICPA (Michigan), GFOA, AGA, MTA, and more — about this exact topic; about how technology is changing and will change the audit and tax industries. Day-to-day, he makes sure Rehmann is taking advantage of the efficiencies offered by emerging tech in the industry, including how Confirmation fits into his charge of leading the company toward the future. 


Pruim’s audit experience includes both public- and private-sector audits, security being an equal concern between the two. “Our clients are very busy people — they want to make sure the data they share with us is secure, but don’t want to spend a lot of time managing the risks that come with sharing this type of information,” he says. “With paper confirmations, we would request that clients complete a confirmation form using a MS Word or Excel document, then print, sign, and send it back to us. That’s a very time-consuming process and certainly not the most secure way to share confidential information.”

Since instituting Confirmation, these transactions have become much easier and far more secure. Pruim explained, “It’s helped us organize a very routine part of our audit process. We have been able to streamline that process and stop chasing paper. Confirmation gives us and our clients a great level of comfort that we no longer have confidential information on pieces of paper floating around in the mail.”

“Confirmation gives us and our clients a great level of comfort that we no longer have confidential information on pieces of paper floating around in the mail.” 

Brent Pruim,  Rehmann Strategic Analyst

Pruim and his IT team use various security measures when evaluating partnerships, so to have his and Rehmann’s seal of approval on the security of Confirmation speaks volumes. Security comes in many forms. The status of each confirmation is now always at the ready, eliminating uncertainties that come along with the paper process. No more wondering about the mail delivery time, or who mailed what and when. Two-way communication via Confirmation relieves this concern. As Pruim puts it, “With Confirmation, you can utilize notifications, and if you’re questioning whether something is coming in or being processed at any point, you can simply check — it’s all at your fingertips.” 

Pruim continued, “Before using Confirmation we could be chasing down paper confirmations for weeks. We would call the financial institution, and they might say they never received anything, meaning you have to contact the client and inconvenience them to sign a new confirmation so you can mail it out. Avoiding issues and uncertainties like this can end up saving us several hours over the course of a single engagement.” Simply put, there were no warm fuzzy feelings before. Now, the answers are all one click away for Rehmann’s audit teams.

Better Communication Has Its Benefits 

Pruim 先生培訓員工使用 Confirmation,並在必要時為客戶提供協助。在此過程中,他已經為 Rehmann 的同事及公司客戶帶來了多項重要的好處。

Pruim stresses the importance of the initial communication with a client — letting them know they’ll be receiving emailed confirmation-related requests from Confirmation, what that means, and from there, firm-to-client communication through Confirmation becomes a very self-sustaining process.

Pruim 先生指出:「此舉對 Rehmann 的客戶關係而言是好事。當我們解釋正利用該項技術簡化及進一步保障作業後,他們立即領會。他們按一下電子郵件中的按鈕,就會授權我們一鍵詢證帳戶。從我的角度來看,這是最能增強客戶體驗的功能 — 我們不必不斷向他們發出請求。」

「客戶只需按一下即可授權我們。這是最能增強客戶體驗的功能 — 我們不必不斷向他們發出請求。」

Brent Pruim,  Rehmann Strategic Analyst

使用 Confirmation 的另一個好處是,如果出現意外的餘額,Pruim 先生的團隊可以立即免費重新詢證。他分享道:「詢證人士通常亦會快速回應。與進行詢證的人士進行互動,並可以向他們詢問有關不確定性的問題,無疑是一項出色的功能。」這種雙向溝通令相關程序的審計步驟易於遵循,並且可以重新加以執行。明確的溝通可以簡化業務,審計詢證程序亦不例外。

Ease of Use Leads to More Opportunities

對於其保證部門的 Rehmann 同事,除了提供登入認證及介面快速概觀之外,Pruim 先生無需為 Confirmation 新使用者提供太多協助。他表示:「該系統運行順暢,非常人性化。我們大多數員工及客戶只需 5 至 10 分鐘的短暫培訓,即可掌握該系統。我們在整個審計程序中使用多個表格,使用該技術詢證帳戶令我們十分安心,因為我們知道已透過適當的文件正確地執行詢證程序。」

受審計團隊可以輕鬆採用該系統的啟發,Confirmation 令 Pruim 先生的團隊有機會瞭解利用技術提高效率的新方法。「我們正準備讓每位客戶可以進一步集合及管理其輸入詢證函及批量下載作業。Confirmation 令我們可以真正透過不同的方式來利用我們的時間。例如,如果 11 月或 12 月某日員工在辦公室未獲指派工作,則可以申請整個辦公室未來所有審計的授權,並提前啟動這些詢證函。此舉令我們可以在開始審計實地調查之前,首先完成詢證帳戶作業。此外,得以依靠行政人員執行該項作業,令我們的員工可以有更多時間更好地為客戶提供增值服務。」Confirmation 眾多其他使用者已經開始意識到以同樣方式集中處理詢證函的好處。

Results by the Numbers

使用 Confirmation 後,Rehmann 每年完成的資產、負債和安全詢證函年度總數增加了 13% 至 20% 或以上。以下為具體數字:

2016 年:1,763
2017 年:2,195
2018 年:2,904

2016: 219
2017: 248
2018: 316

2016: 10
2017: 18
2018: 39

2018 年完成的資產詢證函較 2017 年增加超過 32%。這意味著公司及其客戶的確定性不斷提升,而且鑒證部門的工作較以往任何時候都更加清晰和準確,而且每天均在提高準確性。

While there are no hard numbers to report, Pruim says ample time is being saved. He notes, “The response time for a confirmation is extremely fast — we’ll have some within 24 hours, and that’s where the real time savings comes from. There’s a lot less back and forth. We complete thousands of confirmations per year, so if we’re saving an hour on each one, that’s huge. For clients with 20, sometimes more than 30, accounts, we’re taking what’s essentially a decentralized, time-consuming process and putting it into a very centralized structured process. For those larger accounts, it’s amazing how much time you can save.”

Efficiency is a timeless key to doing business effectively, and Pruim already has his eye on how the audit business could evolve to become even more efficient in the future.


With his expertise in and exposure to technology advancements within the accounting profession, and the application of those advancements within Rehmann, Pruim is a great resource to provide perspective on what the audit of the future could look like.

雖然 Pruim 先生認為短期內不會有任何審計機械人外出進行實地調查,但他確實看到了令人興奮的變化。他的第一印象?該專業領域的技術並非曇花一現的時髦玩意。他補充道:「我們的專業人士對於採用新興技術和工具存在很多疑慮,但當我與主管及負責人交談時,他們均非常開明並瞭解未來的發展趨勢。他們支持並接受這種變更。這種變更即將來臨,我們的專業人士需要做好準備。」

As for Pruim’s perspective on what will define the audit of the future in a single word, it’s data. The second word? Advisory-driven. But going paperless is still a big first step for many firms and clients alike. “At Rehmann we’re essentially paperless, but industry-wide we’re still in a pivotal spot. While we’re not rolling out with paper binders to do audits, we’re still scanning audit support. We still receive a significant amount of paper from clients. In fact, now that we can confirm via paper through Confirmation, I expect the percentage of our overall confirmations that run through Confirmation, currently around 75 percent, to increase even more,” Pruim predicts.

What else does Pruim see when looking ahead? Here’s a few things he has top of mind.

  • Data-driven processes: We’ll spend a lot more time analyzing data.
  • Volume of data: The more data we obtain through cloud-based accounting application connectors, and utilizing the blockchain to verify the transactions, the more fluidly we can audit, while providing valuable insight to our clients by utilizing these tools.
  • In 10 to 15 years: The jury is still out, but the concept of continuous audits could become a reality, which could make the audit process more ongoing, more advisory-based, and more seamless than it is now.

When we asked Pruim if “busy season” could ever become a thing of the past, he noted that different industry sectors have different busy seasons now (public vs. private, for example), and that while those spikes could smooth out a bit if the audit process does in fact become more constant, he doubts they will fade entirely.

Only time will tell what the audit of the future holds, but with the steps Rehmann is putting in place, the firm will surely benefit as an early adopter.