Artificial intelligence (AI) has experienced an exponential boom around the world, and Latin America is no exception. Over the past decade, the region has embraced emerging technology, and one area where it has left a significant mark is in the field of compliance auditing. The application of AI in audit processes is transforming the way companies, government institutions and non-profit organizations ensure compliance with regulations and rules.
The challenge of Compliance audits in Latin America
The regulatory landscape in Latin America has evolved rapidly in recent years. With a wide range of rules and regulations in various industries, ensuring compliance with all applicable laws has become a constant challenge for organizations. Traditional compliance audits involved extensive manual processes and a high degree of subjectivity in decision making, which often resulted in inefficiencies and costly errors, indicates the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The advent of AI has revolutionized the way compliance audits are conducted in the region. Machine learning and natural language processing capabilities have allowed large organizations that have a high degree of complexity in their operations and usually have operations in much of the region, automate and optimize their audit processes.
Some of the key aspects in which AI has positively impacted are:
• Large-scale data analysis: AI can process large volumes of data in real time, allowing companies to more quickly and accurately identify and assess potential risks.
• Detection of abnormal patterns: AI algorithms can identify unusual patterns or atypical behavior in financial and operational data, helping to detect potential fraud or irregularities that might otherwise go unnoticed.
• Automation of repetitive tasks: AI enables the automation of routine tasks in the audit process, freeing up auditors to focus on more strategic analysis and informed decisions.
• Improved accuracy and reliability: AI removes much of the subjectivity in compliance assessments, providing more objective and reliable results.
• Agility in compliance: The implementation of AI in audits allows a faster response to regulatory changes and an agile adaptation to new regulations.
AI adoption in Latin America
Although the use of AI in compliance audits is constantly growing in Latin America, there are still challenges to face. Among them, the training of personnel to use these new tools and guarantee data protection and information security.
In this sense, the Chilean case is quite interesting. According to a study by the Universidad del Desarrollo in 2023, a certain sector of companies has achieved a deep adoption of AI in their teams and operations, and shows signs of generating value with it, which has increased by 42% since the year 2019. However, “it is necessary to keep in mind that this type of activity requires an adequate and robust regulatory framework, considering that the use of new technologies exposes the different risks that can be generated or increased in their development, for example, in terms of protection of personal data or matters related to cybersecurity”, explains Jaime Viveros, associate of the firm AZ de Chile.
Nonetheless, several countries in the region have taken significant steps to embrace AI in areas as diverse as enforcement and compliance. Peru, Chile, Argentina and Mexico, among others, are implementing public and private policies to promote innovation and facilitate the incorporation of technology into legal processes.
Even in this context, AI will not replace human auditors, but its incorporation into these processes will allow professionals to focus on strategic tasks, while technology is in charge of performing complex analyzes and monitoring compliance more effectively.