4 Steps to Closing the Audit Technology Gap

Gina Deveney
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Internal auditors in contemporary businesses spend countless hours poring over accounts, spreadsheets and emails trying to get an overall picture of a firm's financial stability. An audit technology gap prevents auditors from completing their jobs in a timely, effective manner. Audits can take weeks, and reports may not happen until it is too late to fix certain problems.

Internal auditors face mounting pressure to deliver considerable value for their services within an organization. Before audit management software, no panacea existed for auditors to find the information they needed. There were no overreaching audit programs that located all the information, and no single program found every expense and all revenue. Paperwork that backs up the electronic numbers can be hard to track down, even by contemporary standards. Closing the audit technology gap may seem impossible, but internal auditors can make their jobs more efficient.

A recent survey shows just 40 percent of internal audit executives feel companies manage internal audit technology well. Many auditors have outdated technology, cobbled together from several different types of software, to make sense of a company's books. Traditional methods, used in 57 percent of offices surveyed, rely on computer files backed up by paper documents. Internal auditors use Microsoft Excel, Word, operating system files and emails to track down every financial transaction possible. Then auditors have to match each file to corresponding paperwork.

Closing the audit technology gap means taking this traditional method and making it more streamlined without sacrificing quality. Analyze the situation and take steps to improve internal audit programs. How quickly can information be shared within the firm? Are computers with accounts on them linked to make analyzing data easier? Do your analytical programs find all the information you need? Can paperwork be scanned and digitized efficiently?

Transform your audit technology gap using simple steps. Auditing leadership must take the initiative and let the team know that audit technology happens for the good of the company. Consider software and programs viable one to three years in the future. Mobile computing, cloud-based programs, data mining and specialty software can all help make an internal audit easier. Software should bind your company's financial aspects seamlessly without making the process overly complex. Data analysis programs are essential to making audits work. Analyzing your numbers in real-time can save headaches later.

Closing the audit technology gap improves efficiency, makes external audits easier and saves staff time. A seemingly large investment now saves even more money and increases profits later. Cutting-edge technology does not have to stop at the production floor. Making an auditor's job easier makes everyone happy, especially with such a crucial and stressful task.

Internal auditing is a vital part of a company's overall well-being. Prioritizing and updating audit software can alleviate some problems firms face when analyzing financial data. Closing the audit technology gap can be done once in a while, instead of constantly, such as every time technology shifts to new paradigms. After you make your internal auditors happy, the rest of the audit process becomes much easier.


Photo courtesy of Simon Cunningham at Flickr.com



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