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Thinking Like an Auditor

  • Why Lock Yourself out of Your Organization's Ecosystem?

    February 24, 2020 | By Colleen Knuff, CPA, CIA, CISA, CRMA, NPDP

    Back when I started as a brand-new internal auditor, I worked in a locked room, with locked filing cabinets, and the only view into our work was the final audit report. It certainly created a lot of curiosity about what went on behind those closed doors, but it also seemed to create an urban legend that we preferred to work in locked filing rooms, conference rooms, etc. … but I digress.

    Today though, organizations create ecosystems of data that are imperative to their work. It's estimated that a 500-person organization could be using up to 120 systems and apps. These systems and apps share data rather than creating separate data sets. To add to the complexity, records are shared, referenced and updated by at least 5 other systems and apps. These may have been created by upstream processes or downstream data. Simply put, sharing data is how we reduce our data footprint, ensure accuracy, and speed up business processes.

    Internal Audit Department

    So why is your internal audit solution not in on the action? A strong expert solution offers not only the expected features and functions, but it should provide an API framework to allow you to connect to your organization's ecosystem.

    If your risk management group has responsibility for managing enterprise risk libraries, why not link to them rather than re-create them? Want to get monthly financial close balances to easily identify financial controls to test? You can have those automatically populate every month after close!

    Want to get greater engagement with the front-line managers in remediating issues and deficiencies? Give them a central location in which they can provide their updates rather than asking them to perform that function in several different systems. This will not only improve engagement; it will also simplify the process I hear many internal audit departments describe where issues are exported to a spreadsheet and then imported to another system. A team I worked with had one person spend three days a month performing this onerous and tedious task, which was highly prone to human error. While three days might not sound like much, at an average rate of $40/hour for audit staff, that was a waste of $11,520 that could have been put to better use. This, in fact, sounds like an inefficiency we might call out in an audit report.

    Your organization has countless data access points from which internal audit can consume information as well as share information by simply automating an agreed-upon exchange. We at Wolters Kluwer TeamMate recommend that you start with your largest data sharing and access challenges then look for more opportunities to share. Just think of how much manual and non-value-added labor you could save.

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