How Does Internal Audit Get Ahead When Your Tech Is Locked in Time?
By Jason Rohlf
“Ultimately, the goal for internal audit’s use of technology is to evolve in step with the business, using technologies that will, at a minimum, allow you to effectively audit the disparate business infrastructures while also beginning to creatively innovate to stay a step ahead of the real-time pace of technology advancement.”
— Michael P. Cangemi
Staying a Step Ahead: Internal Audit’s Use of Technology
Report issued by the IIA Research Foundation, 2015
The IIA Research Foundation (quoted above) recently laid out a bold challenge to internal audit professionals: The time is now to improve their adoption and understanding of technologies that enable more efficient, effective and valuable audit work.
A quick Google search for “internal audit software” reveals a long list of available solutions. Many of these providers (Onspring included) exhibited at the recent Governance, Risk and Controls (GRC) Conference in Phoenix, co-sponsored by the IIA and ISACA. In terms of sheer quantity of choices, internal auditors have no shortage of software at their disposal.
But how many of these solutions enable internal auditors to (as the IIA Research Foundation report describes) “creatively innovate to stay a step ahead of the real-time pace of technology advancement”?
We work with internal auditors on a daily basis, and we’ve picked up on a consistent theme in the profession: too many solutions for audit planning, fieldwork, data analysis and reporting are woefully outdated. They are tough to implement. They are a bear to configure. They are slow. They are the polar opposite of user friendly.
It was clear to us at the GRC Conference earlier this month that internal auditors are hungry for new and better tech options. They are more than ready to embrace technology, but they need solutions that are ahead of the game, not lagging behind.
Specifically, they are looking for:
- Performance. Waiting seconds, minutes (or worse) for pages to load and reports to generate is no longer acceptable. IA professionals expect the same performance from their audit software as they enjoy from a Google search or an Amazon web purchase.
- Flexibility. As business risks and opportunities evolve, the IA profession evolves, too. Software that’s rigidly fixated on today’s “best practices” may be ill suited to support the IA teams of tomorrow. Internal auditors need solutions that flex and scale with the changing times.
- Ease of Use. Software should support and enable a world-class audit process. It shouldn’t be a barrier to progress. It should just work—intuitively—the way users expect it to.
- Visibility. Internal auditors don’t operate in a vacuum. They are constantly gathering information from the business and sharing their findings with process owners, senior management, the audit committee and other assurance functions. They cannot be locked into a tool that inhibits the collection and secure sharing of information.
Internal audit teams are no longer content to implement a solution for electronic workpapers and call it a day. As they evolve, they need the ability to manage “big data” and incorporate the results of advanced analyses and continuous auditing into their programs.
It’s time for internal auditors to get what they really need from their technology. It’s time they had a tool that can adapt as they continue to improve and advance their capabilities. At Onspring, we are up for the challenge.
P.S., Are you looking for new and better tech solutions for your internal audit team? Download our FREE Buyer’s Guide for Audit Software. Learn how to identify technology that fits today and scales tomorrow.
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