Cool Tech Tools: Drones
Drones were considered fun when they first came out, but they are far from toys. Drones have surprising benefits with extremely high return on investment to certain business owners. A drone is a robot that can fly and that is controlled by a remote device. The technology includes GPS (global positioning system) and built-in sensors. There are many benefits to using drones:
● They can go places where it might be dangerous for employees to access, improving employee safety.
● They increase efficiency and productivity while decreasing workload and costs.
● They can improve accuracy.
A drone can be used in the following ways:
● To gather information for pricing estimates, such as roof repair
● To inspect items, such as a tree’s disease progression
● To monitor systems or the status of certain items, such as landfill fire risks
● To photograph items from an aerial view
There are many industries that have begun to routinely use drones, such as:
● Waste Management
● Disaster Relief Services
● Real Estate
● Event Planning
● Highways, Traffic, and Road Safety
If your industry is one that is adopting drones, it might be a good time to start researching them for your business.
“How does utilizing a drone apply to accounting?” Glad you asked! Neil Johnson’s article The Drone and the Accountant Explains how drones are revolutionizing the efficiency of the accounting world. This excerpt explains:
“Drones provide data, a lot of it, and quickly. For Joanne Murray, PwC’s UK drones assurance lead, this means a new way to collect data during audits. ‘I’m an external auditor by background and if you’d asked me even two years ago would I be working with drones in PwC, I wouldn’t have dreamt it.It’s a big change in direction for a lot of us accountants, but if you take a step back you could say that drones are an extension of the way auditors are already working – it’s all aboutgathering data. Using aerial data is revolutionary, but it doesn’t actually change the nature of what we’re doing and the insight we need to gather.’A big part of an auditor’s job is data collection and evaluation, which can be very manual.‘Drones can get to hard to reach places and capture huge volumes of data in very short periods oftime, which compared with manual methods – for example, going out to a construction site in adifferent country – it’s hoped drone usage is driving real efficiencies in the way we’re deliveringour audits,’ says Murray.Murray expects a greater roll out of drone usage across PwC’s business units, especially withmore benefits to be found in external audit: ‘The obvious one is the inventory count, assessing thevolume and number, as well as verifying assets. Some of our clients have assets in remotelocations and it would be tricky logistically to get an audit team member there.’Asset impairment is another area for external audit in which Murray would like to see dronesdeployed: ‘This is a risky area in the financial statement audit; if you can have drone captureddata produce a digital twin – a 3D representation of an asset – so anybody in the world caninspect it remotely, that would be a real benefit for the audit team to get deep insight into some ofthose assets.’Big Four firms also recognize that their clients are going to be disrupted by this technology andthey want to be able to advise them on how best to put in place the systems that can exploit suchdata. This is having a major impact on consulting and advisory units.For many of PwC’s clients the advantages in using drones are to inspect assets, particularly if they are dispersed or large in size – such as oil rigs or real estate.‘Using a drone to collect insight into the condition of assets is faster, cheaper, safer and moreaccurate than traditional methods,’ says Elaine Whyte, PwC’s UK drone lead.”
Johnson, Niel. “Accounting with Drones.” ACCA Global, https://www.accaglobal.com/gb/en/student/sa/features/drones.html.
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