By Nazatul Izma
Early adopters recommend that their peer audit firms adopt this electronic bank confirmation platform, as the pros outweigh the cons.
In June 2020, the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) officially launched the industry-wide Electronic Bank Confirmation (EBC) Platform (eConfirm.my) together with platform developer and service provider, Extol Corporation Sdn Bhd (Extol).
The MIA collaborated with Extol on eConfirm.my to automate the current bank confirmation process and encourage its members to adopt digital technology that enhances audit efficiency and effectiveness.
To gauge the value of eConfirm.my to audit firms in practice, MIA solicited feedback from four early adopters – PwC, Crowe, Baker Tilly and another firm. These firms have been using the eConfirm.my for audits of companies particularly for those with financial year ended 31 December 2020. Their feedback will be applied to resolve expectation and delivery gaps and further improve the platform and its services.
Reported Challenges in Practice
- A key challenge is to convince audit clients that the convenience of eConfirm.my is worth the extra cost of RM15 fee per confirmation request.
Lagging Bank Participation
- Currently not all banks in Malaysia are signed up with the eConfirm.my, which presents an administrative burden for auditors. Auditors must also follow up on the online confirmations made through another platform used by some non-participating foreign banks as well as manual confirmations through postal services, which are inefficient.
- A firm reported that its staff’s initial response to eConfirm.my was not encouraging but the firm successfully transitioned following educational briefings and staff’s practical experience with eConfirm.my during the MCO.
Say Yes to eConfirm.my
Despite some teething issues, the four firms polled recommended that their peers adopt the eConfim.my, regardless of the size of the firm. They particularly appreciated the time savings and expedited audits.
To facilitate the transition to eConfirm.my for new adopters, the firms recommended that audit partners and firms do the following:
Future Digital Potentials
The firms were also polled on other aspects of practice, audit and operations management that they think would benefit from digitalisation. One matter that has come up is the digitalisation of other areas involving confirmation such as confirmations by lawyers, key management personnel and related parties and confirmations of balances by debtors and creditors.
To add further value to members and ensure the future relevance of the profession, the MIA will engage with Extol to improve the user experience and benefits of the eConfirm.my. In addition, MIA will continue to look into other processes and areas that can be digitalised, as guided by the MIA Digital Technology Blueprint.