Becoming a Superhero – Moving Beyond AP & Payroll with Data Analytics

Most internal audit departments buy ACL, IDEA or Arbutus with the idea that auditing will become faster, easier and more accurate instantly. That hardly ever happens.  Instead most groups find the process of implementing data analytics to be a daunting and overwhelming experience. Quite frequently departments turn to their analytics tool provider for ready-made solutions in order to have some immediate success. The tool providers are happy to sell pre-packed solutions to help get the process started. These pre-packaged solutions usually focus on Accounts Payable, Payroll and General Ledger analytics. Unfortunately for most departments that is where the data analytics program tends to get stuck.

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The first few months with the new scripts for Accounts Payable, Payroll and General Ledger seem very cool and exciting but there is almost always a diminishing return. Auditors spend the first few months with their new program chasing down all the issues the analytics are identifying and for many departments – they are for a short period, something of a superhero in the company. But as they perform their job and resolve the root causes for the issues identified by the analytics tool, the exception reports each month contain fewer and fewer exceptions until there are none.

No exceptions!  That is a good thing, right? Yes, it is a good thing.  It indicates certain areas of the business are getting more effective and efficient especial with controls.  We want to continue to monitor those areas on an on-going basis, but it’s time to do more. Data analytics possibilities for internal audit are countless, but most groups do not know where to go from here. My team has done amazing things with data analytics in internal audit and I would like to share all the other possibilities I know exist for analytics in internal audit beyond Account Payable and Payroll.

In August, Keith Barber and I will be speaking on this subject at the IIA/ISACA GRC Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Keith is one of the most accomplish Internal Audit Data Analysts in the country and has led some cutting-edge initiatives using data analytics including automating SOX testing – and who doesn’t want to do that?

For those of you who are using analytics programs and aren’t sure what to do next, please come see us at the conference – or contact us at Empower Audit – and let us show you how you can become a superhero for your audit department – and organization – with analytics possibilities that go way beyond routine AP and Payroll. We will discuss how analytics can be applied to real-time risk analysis, performance audits, operational audits, regulatory compliance, audit specific analytics, fraud auditing, fraud detection and fraud investigation. We will also show you examples of our biggest success stories.

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