Whether internal or external, professional auditors have a profound responsibility to, and impact on, an organization. Auditing is required in every organization to ensure industry and governmental compliance and to assure management that policies and procedures are followed. While an auditor may be seen by some as a necessary evil, the truth is that auditors add value to every organization by providing objective metric and measurement using accepted methodologies, techniques and systems. Audits allow the enterprise to mitigate risk and govern the organization.
Accurate, adequate access to dependable, up-to-date data is crucial to every auditor. Business Intelligence allows auditors to gather and analyze data and drill down and through data to find the root cause of problems and identify issues. To accomplish these tasks, an auditor must have access to an integrated body of data that allows for easy analysis and reporting and ensures that the auditor will not spend all of his/her time sifting through mounds of data. Business Intelligence tools can also ensure swift and accurate auditing of systems, technology, information and data security and user access security processes, policies and techniques.
In today’s rapidly changing business and technology environs, auditors cannot afford to suffer the consequences of delays, inaccuracies or incomplete information. Modern auditing tools allow auditors to work more quickly. While technology-based auditing tools can and do simplify the auditing process, the need for good source data must still be satisfied. Auditing tools can include specialized audit software and auditing programs, and computer assisted audit techniques and test data generators.
When combined with sophisticated, easy-to-use business intelligence tools, the professional auditor can take advantage of predictive algorithms, key performance indicators (KPIs), identify exceptions, and other features to combine and analyze the information to be used for audits and more complete auditing processes more quickly, affordably and easily.
When an enterprise employs Business Intelligence tools to support the auditing process, it can monitor and manage data, processes, policies and compliance and complete audits with fewer resources and in a more timely fashion.
In considering a BI tool, it is important for an organization to understand not only the cost of the solution, and the time to implement, but also the features and functionality that will and must support its auditors and audit processes. Mobile, browser-based solutions can provide true self-serve business intelligence access in a user-friendly environment, and provide integration of disparate data sources, and sophisticated features that are suitable for every user and industry.
Selecting the right business intelligence software is crucial. It is imperative that the organization understand its requirements, the requirements of its auditors and IT team, and the opportunities and capabilities provided by a product that will easily integrate with and support technology-based auditing tools.
When an enterprise provides the right BI tools to its auditors, it can simplify and improve the auditing process and the clarity and accuracy of the auditing process and related decisions.