Case studies

How audit platform Circit uses open banking to streamline financial administration

05 December 2023

Law firms, accountants, and fund managers are some of the most process-driven and paperwork-heavy organisations in operation. Many of their core tasks are complex and require significant manual intervention and rigorous checking to ensure they meet the accuracy necessary to complete their day-to-day work.

Circit is an audit evidence platform that leverages open banking technology to help streamline the audit process, enabling auditors to independently and securely verify assets at source from banks in near real-time. It delivers the robust audit evidence required by regulators and can help to reduce the risk of fraud.

Founded in 2017 by a team of former auditors, the FCA-authorised firm is headquartered in Dublin and is regulated as an account information services provider (AISP).

Jason O’Shaughnessy, VP Sales & Partnerships at Circit, said: “Banks have teams of up to 20 people which manage and respond to audit requests, and these requests can take 20-30 days to resolve – particularly at peak times such as the beginning and end of the year.

“Using open banking connections to manage and deliver these requests via a single dashboard can reduce this time to as little as two days and cuts out 50% of effort. It also improves the quality and accuracy of audits.” 

How does it work?

It only takes a few days to set up the Circit dashboard, and the firm aims to make it a seamless process for their clients.

Instead of supplying account information via CSV files and PDFs, clients give authorisation to use open banking connections, via a secure SaaS environment, to give auditors direct access to their transactional data for the accounts that need to be audited. This makes it easier to match and verify data, as well as quickly identify any anomalies or missing information.

The platform automates the following core audit tasks (clients can choose the functionality they need, and add new features to their dashboard at a later stage):

  • Confirmation requests – creating and processing of audit confirmations from banks and law firms, including letters of authority (LoA).
  • Provided by Client (PBC) lists –managing requests for information and supporting documents that are needed to complete an audit.
  • Verified transactions – independently collecting client transactional data directly on the Circit platform.
  • Document signing – legally binding electronic signatures for engagement letters and financial statements, including for overseas clients.

Auditors can contact clients directly via the Circit dashboard to highlight and resolve any queries in near real-time, rather than rely on email or post. This avoids cross-over communications and negates the need for follow-up meetings.

The financial director of the audited firm receives a request in the dashboard, then provides the necessary information; the auditor receives this on the Circit platform and confirms the data to complete the workflow.

Mark Attwood, Corporate Partner at accountancy firm Kreston Reeves, commented: “We recognise that the open banking transactions that can be obtained via Circit are really important to an audit process as this control account is a fundamental cornerstone of any accounting system. Standardising the data retrieval is vital to any enhancement in audit as it cuts down on the variables.”

It is clear that the platform has delivered cost and time efficiencies for both Circit’s own clients and their end clients, particularly for smaller firms which don’t always have standardised document management. Streamlining these key aspects of the audit process can help improve the accuracy of audit trails, and reduce the amount of time it takes to resolve queries, in turn, improving client collaboration and saving on valuable billing hours.

Notes to editors

Open Banking Limited does not endorse any of the products or companies mentioned here.

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