Internal Audit and Data Analytics

Internal Auditors work in an exceptionally complex, always evolving, and challenging world. In an environment where there is pressure to add more value with fewer people and less time, internal auditors are being challenged to discover more risks, review operational, financial and compliance processes more extensively and uncover fraud in organisations all while considering the “new normal” of the Covid-19 pandemic requiring remote working. It is therefore necessary for Internal Auditors to work smarter and more efficient, instead of harder, by utilizing data analytics to help simplify and improve audits, reduce costs, and detect potential fraud and errors.

Data Analytics is changing the audit landscape globally. So, when you’re analysing data for any audit, whether you want to audit a 100% population, detect fraud, or identify anomalies, trends, or patterns, you need a solution that understands you and your business needs, and that empowers you to deliver high-quality audits every single time. Fortunately, there is a better way to make sense of your data.

CaseWare IDEA has been the industry leader for audit analytics for over 25 years. IDEA’s powerful, efficient, and easy-to-use data analysis functionality is designed for audit, accounting, and finance professionals by audit experts. No matter the type of audit, IDEA offers a comprehensive solution for every audit need.

Utilizing data analysis in performing more efficient audits was emphasized in the CaseWare State of Internal Audit Survey 2020. When asking Internal Audit Professionals to name their top internal audit challenges, three clear priorities emerged as the top challenges faced by auditors, regardless of role or geographic location.  Click here to read the full Survey on “Towards a data driven future”.

As highlighted in the State of Internal Audit Survey, “data-driven audits” are highlighted, and the approach is defined as:

  • The use of data analytics technology.
  • A decreased reliance on manual tools and processes (e.g., traditional spreadsheets and sampling).
  • Results-based decision making that enables both the auditor and client to find more value in an audit.
  • Using these approaches to enable management to minimize risk.

By altering the internal audit methodology to consider a data driven audit approach, the challenges listed above will be addressed, thereby not only improving the efficiency of internal audit but allowing internal auditors to adapt to the ever changing and evolving world requiring auditors to do more with less. To assist with adopting a data-driven audit approach, it is recommended that reliance is placed on a data analytical tool, such as CaseWare IDEA.

IDEA® Data Analysis Software is a comprehensive, powerful, and easy-to-use data analysis tool that quickly analyses 100 percent of your data, guarantees data integrity, and accelerates performing data analytics to enable faster and more effective audits. Not only will IDEA assist the internal auditor to be more efficient, but it also enables the use of the intuitive graphical interfaces, wizards, HTML Help, and guides to execute tasks.

IDEA is therefore best known for its:

Leverage best practices, automation, and collaboration solutions to be more efficient with your resources while being confident with the outcomes.

Enhance audit project quality with instant access to the information you need – from engagement monitoring and review tools to dashboards and feedback mechanisms that can be used throughout work processes.

Provide more value to your organization and clients by leveraging data analytics that allows you to identify new opportunities and make better business decisions.

The solution can support as many users as required by the organisation.
Here are some of the key features:

  • IDEA’s Import Assistant gives users the ability to import from a multitude of source data files. You can import Microsoft Access®, Microsoft Excel®, dBase®, Text, SAP/AIS, and XML files to name a few
  • Extractions/filtering, or exception testing, are the most frequently used task in IDEA, used to identify items which satisfy a specific characteristic, such as payments more than R10 000.00 or transactions before a given date
  • You can use the Gap Detection task to search a file for gaps in numeric or date sequences, or alphanumeric sequences with a user-defined mask.
  • IDEA can identify duplicate items within a database where up to eight fields of information are the same
  • The Benford’s Law task lets you compare the data with the data pattern predicted by Benford’s Law analysis
  • You can match, join, or compare different databases
  • IDEA offers five sampling methods together with the ability to calculate sample sizes based on parameters entered and evaluate the results of sampling tests.
  • IDEA can seamlessly connect IDEA data to third-party applications that support ODBC including Tableau, Power BI, MS Excel and many more.

CaseWare IDEA sets an unrivalled benchmark for ease of use, technical performance, extensibility, and value, as evidenced by its satisfied users worldwide that number in the hundreds of thousands. It is therefore an impactful tool to assist internal auditors to adapt to the ever-changing world, where more output is expected with minimum input, to add more value to organisation, that will enable these organisations to achieve their strategic goals.

Reference: State of Internal Audit 2020 Survey Towards_a_Data_Driven_Future.pdf (