Major Diversified Company Improves Audit Productivity, Efficiency, and Visibility
The Client: A diversified group of companies in Asia with investments in financial services, power, food, and more
Faced with time-consuming internal audit processes, as well as insufficient audit data visibility and a lack of effective collaboration, the client turned to MetricStream for help. The cloud-based MetricStream Internal Audit Management App transformed the client’s approach to audits by automating processes, breaking down the barriers to communication, and providing comprehensive and real-time visibility into audits across the organization.
The client evaluated several audit management solution providers, but ultimately selected MetricStream based on the automated and integrated capabilities of the MetricStream Internal Audit Management App.
Since its implementation, the MetricStream app has helped the client streamline, standardize, and accelerate internal audit management processes across the organization. The app, which is leveraged by 400+ users, supports the client at each stage of the audit process. The app also facilitates a risk-based approach to audit management, and provides realtime visibility into audit processes and data.
The app was rolled out in just six weeks using MetricStream’s FastTrak implementation methodology. Moreover, it was deployed over the MetricStream GRC Cloud, allowing the client to realize faster time-to-value, as well as agility, reliability, and scalability.
The cloud-based app provides the following capabilities to the client:
Risk Assessment: The app enables the client to evaluate organizational risks by impact and likelihood. Based on the results, the audit team can efficiently plan and prioritize audit activities to focus on key risk areas. The app supports risk assessments and computations based on configurable methodologies and algorithms. It also provides in-depth visibility into the risks associated with each auditable entity. This enables the client’s auditors to develop effective audit strategies, and provide informed recommendations on how to best mitigate risk.
Audit Planning and Scheduling: Through the app, the client can create a comprehensive audit plan with a well-defined objective and scope tied to the results of the risk assessments. All audits are organized in a logical structure with detailed checklists, tasks, and evaluation criteria. The client can schedule audits periodically, or trigger ad hoc audits whenever required through the app. In addition, they can select the relevant auditors or teams, and assign audit responsibilities and due dates. Automated notifications are then sent to the auditor and auditee, informing them about the audit.
Audit Resource Management: The MetricStream app enables the client to effectively manage audit resources, team assignments, and budgets. Tasks can be allocated based on a clear view of each auditor’s skill sets and availability, as well as budgets of time and effort. The app keeps in check instances of audit overbooking or conflicts, and also provides intuitive tools for audit pool management, shared calendars, and audit milestone tracking. A time tracking capability captures the time spent in auditing, and supports transparent timesheet reporting.
Audit Fieldwork: Through the app, the client can create, review, and approve various audit tasks. The app also provides a centralized, electronic work-paper management tool to prepare, organize, and maintain all audit documents and work-papers. Auditors can convert these work-papers to standard Microsoft Excel formats, attach documents, and cross-reference other data wherever required. Alongside, an Audit Briefcase capability allows the client to conduct audits at remote field sites that do not have access to the corporate network. Using this capability, auditors can record their findings offline on their systems, and synchronize the data with the central online repository later, when they can access the corporate network.
Issue Management: Issues that are discovered during an audit at the client organization are routed by the app through a streamlined process of issue investigation, root causes analysis, and remediation. Each issue is clearly documented and categorized with a well-defined action plan. Automated alerts help keep the issue management process on track, and a unique ID assigned to each issue makes it easy to track the issue from one stage to the next.
Reporting: The app enables the client to generate both draft and final audit reports. It also provides complete historical and real-time data on risk assessments, audit findings, issues, action plans, and auditor performance. Graphical executive dashboards offer the client a 360-degree view of risk and audit data, and also help drill down to track audit statistics. All these insights enable managers to effectively monitor risks, identify audit trends, and resolve issues in a timely manner.
At the client organization, internal audit management was a laborious task, as most processes were managed manually. Audit teams would spend considerable time and effort entering data across multiple complex spreadsheets, filtering and consolidating their findings, and preparing draft and final audit reports by hand.
Since the client did not have a central audit management database, audit plans, findings, and reports often ended up scattered across multiple desktops, documents, and departments. Tracking this data became increasingly difficult. And without timely data visibility, auditors could not identify and address risks or issues in an effective manner. The quality of audit reporting was also affected.
Audit collaboration was another challenge. Audit teams used emails, phone calls, and other traditional forms of communication to coordinate audit tasks or share findings. However, this approach was neither scalable nor sustainable. It also further complicated audit data tracking and reporting.
Given these challenges, the client wanted to implement a robust audit management system that would not only strengthen audit collaboration and improve audit reporting, but also automate audit processes for optimal efficiency.
Improved Audit Productivity and Time-Savings
The app has automated and streamlined the client’s internal audit processes, thereby minimizing redundancies and inefficiencies, and enabling audit teams to be more productive. Instead of struggling with complex spreadsheets, audit teams can easily capture, manage, and track data through MetricStream’s centralized app.
Better Data Visibility, Better Decisions
Through the app, the client gains real-time visibility into audit processes, findings, and issues at multiple levels of the organization. This enables them to effectively identify audit trends, and address areas of concern in a timely manner.
Stronger Coordination and Communication
The app has broken down the barriers to communication across the client organization, giving audit teams the ability to easily collaborate on tasks, and share information. In doing so, the app has improved the quality of audit data and reports.
Integration with Risk Assessments
The app streamlines the client’s risk assessments, and integrates the findings with audit planning processes. Therefore, instead of having to audit all areas at once, the client can effectively prioritize and focus their audits on high risk areas.