Reduce Errors, Expedite Audit Control Testing, and Enable Collaboration with MetricStream TechnologyAudit Management | 3 Min Read |19 May 21|by Sunay Zelawat
Completing an audit on time is one of the major challenges faced by audit teams. It is compounded for complex audits involving several layers of entities and processes and related internal controls. For an internal auditor, a significant part of their role is providing assurance to management and the audit committee over internal control effectiveness. Selecting a prudent sample size for testing these internal controls becomes even more important in such cases. According to the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) – effective audit sampling procedures will increase the coverage, focus, and efficiency of audits and will allow the auditor to provide assurance on business processes that impact the organization’s achievement of its goals and objectives.
Technology – how it helps
Audit teams are seen making the gradual shift towards adopting technology to facilitate their work. And technology can enable collaboration. Time-consuming activities in the audit execution process, involving multiple user interactions, have been made simpler with the use of Microsoft Office tools. By leveraging the core capabilities of these tools, it is possible to improve the efficiency of audit testing by allowing auditors to collaborate and work on the tests intuitively. What was once seen as a long winding process of collating all the samples and then sending them for review or approval is now made simpler with the use of server-side editing of these test samples. A core excel file containing the list of all the test data can now be uploaded to the server and can be accessed by other members of the team. This not only removes the aspect of uploading multiple versions of the document, thereby reducing the error rate, but also improves the time taken to review the data and expedite the audit execution lifecycle.
In the post-pandemic world, it has become more pertinent for auditors located remotely to bridge the distance using collaborative tools to execute their tasks. An auditor spends most of his/her auditing time scanning through different documents assessing the various controls and risks involved in the different processes of an organization. It becomes very important that auditors maintain consistency and accuracy in documenting the assessment information at the same time ensuring adherence to timelines. Having tools that enable and support auditors in this endeavor would go a great way in executing an effective audit. As part of research conducted by PwC, it was found that Internal audit functions that are more advanced in their use of collaboration tools stand out from their peers in managing stakeholder relationships and cost efficiencies.
MetricStream’s server-side editing solution addresses this need by supporting collaborative authoring of audit test samples in control test workpapers. Audit teams can now upload a single version of collated test sample excel sheet and collaborate internally to review and make changes without downloading a copy. This feature rules out the upload of erroneous versions of the sample document at the same time ensuring audit team members are on the same page while reviewing the sample data. Such a capability, enabling collaboration among all stakeholders, not only brings in more agility to the audit execution process but also expedites the overall assessment lifecycle.
The adoption of collaboration tools combined with other disruptive technologies will greatly facilitate the audit process. Embracing change along with evolving market dynamics is the way forward for internal audit teams to differentiate themselves, create value, and elevate the function in the organization.
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