A dashboard without precedent, for a crisis without precedent

“COVID-19 has made it harder for companies to assess financial-reporting risks,” said Jeff Burgess, national managing partner of Audit Services at Grant Thornton.

Challenge: When the COVID-19 pandemic upended American businesses, it also created unexpected financial-reporting requirements. For example, a billion-dollar consumer-goods retailer needed to quickly assess the content of new disclosures, while also comparing and contrasting its proposed disclosures with similar companies in its industry.

Solution: To help, Grant Thornton developed a COVID-19 dashboard that tracks pandemic-related reporting requirements, such as SEC disclosures, in multiple industries. The dashboard, which Grant Thornton developed in a matter of days, summarizes disclosures by industry and topic. It is powered by a database containing a range of different filings and topics and uses artificial intelligence to categorize disclosures and risks.

Utilizing the dashboard, Grant Thornton’s engagement teams were able to better assess the retailer’s likely financial-reporting risks, including impairment matters and going concern issues that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dashboard also gives Grant Thornton’s clients the ability to explore the impact of COVID-19 within their respective industries, which can inform reporting decisions. And the dashboard provides Grant Thornton’s engagement teams with improved insights and enhanced visibility, which means they can more objectively serve their attest roles.

Outcome: With comprehensive data, Grant Thornton and its client were able to discuss the universe of potential matters, evaluating each against the backdrop of transparent financial reporting, forward-looking statements and disclosure frequencies in specific industries. This reduced the time and resources required to comparatively analyze disclosures, which, in turn, allowed the client to focus on other operational and reporting matters – and allowed Grant Thornton to focus on key areas of reporting and internal control risk.

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