Our team of CPAs, software developers and scientists generates a unique combination of synergies. Our development process covers the complete value-added chain from basic research to commercial viability.
zapliance is applied research personified.
The first step was to gain experience of how auditing work in practice. So the story began at the offices of one of the BIG4. In a whole series of interviews we collected information on processes, introduction and evaluation of internal control systems and analysis of SAP systems involving a high degree of manual input. It soon dawned on us that a large amount of the manually-collected data required for an audit already existed in the company’s ERP system. And, in most cases this was SAP. The ‘only’ thing that needed to be done was to extract and match this data from an audit-specific perspective. This meant that, if the SAP system was used for all the company’s processes, the resulting data would be usable for all future analyses. The idea of using process-mining methods to create an audit-specific mining algorithm was born. Unfortunately, it proved impossible to interest the BIG4 in ideas involving this degree of innovation, and we decided to continue the development work on our own...
Institutions of higher education are in some cases good places to develop innovations. But even there you need financial and other resources to do meaningful research work. Luckily, we were able to negotiate a 3-year research project sponsored by the German government. The Financial Process Mining Algorithm was developed in the years 2010 through 2013 at the Business Informatics Dept. of Hamburg University in a project named Virtual Accounting Worlds.
"The aim of the Virtual Accounting Worlds Project is research and design of software-based methods and tools capable of supporting accountants (both internal and external auditors) in their examination of accounting practices used in IT systems and IT-supported business processes. The specific goal is the development of a prototype software supporting internal and external audits of systems and business processes in accordance with GAAP."
Completion of the project faced us with our next key decision. Should the results be filed away in the academic archives or should they be developed to a higher level of maturity and transferred into the world of corporate practice. There was general agreement that audit digitization was a matter of considerable interest and relevance and a field bearing the promise of great future potential. zapliance GmbH was founded early in 2015.
The best way to stay innovative is to become more innovative. zapliance has done this by committing itself to a vision designated Collective Audit Intelligence. A grant for this project was obtained in 2016 from the Hamburgischen Investitions- und Förderbank under the PROFI program for sponsoring innovation. Collective Audit Intelligence aims to use the mass of data from past audits as a source facilitating rapid logical conclusions on data obtained in current audits. Collective Audit Intelligence is a self-refining audit system applying predictive analytics based on artificial intelligence collected from the cumulative knowledge of hundreds of auditors:
"Harness the Power of Hundreds of Auditors."
The future of auditing will be decided in the tension field between automated analyses and the professional auditors interpreting them on the basis of their experience and professional knowledge. In the final analysis, the writing on the wall for the auditing profession reads: "Digitize or Die".
The Nordakademie is a private university based in Hamburg and offering dual study courses. Prof. Dr. Nick Gehrke, a tax accountant, provides support to zapliance with knowhow on auditing in general and data analytics and predictive analytics in particular.
The Virtual Accounting Worlds research project was carried out at the University of Hamburg.
HITeC e.V. and Prof. Dr. Markus Nüttgens from the University of Hamburg provide support to zapliance on research and development and arrange for incorporation of the research results in academic teaching.
The University of Emden-Leer is a practice-oriented university in the North-West of Germany.
Prof. Dr. Frank Rump supports zapliance with knowhow on software and algorithm development.