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A nimble approach to audit management

Charmian Simmons
Charmian Simmons
Performance and Strategy Director at Refinitiv
The nimble approach to audit management
Photography: Toby Melville

Audit management tools are evolving to meet the challenges of digital disruption. Find out how technology-enabled collaboration and information sharing can ensure internal auditors focus on the risks that matter.

  1. The challenges facing internal auditors include understanding new and emerging technologies and finding the right digital tools to handle system-driven outputs.
  2. Audit Management on the Connected Risk platform offers streamlined reporting and an integrated, collaborative approach to audit execution.
  3. A webinar on Audit Management, part of our series on the award-winning Connected Risk platform, highlights the nimble approach needed by audit teams.

Organizations are being challenged to invest in newer and easier technologies in order to help them better consolidate information and manage risk.

As the speed and scale of change continues to increase, audit functions are equally challenged to:

  • Understand new and emerging technologies.
  • Discover innovative ways to engage the business.
  • Implement suitable digital audit tools to easily interpret, process, and re-perform system-driven outputs.

Investing in and utilizing digital tools will soon become the norm to consistently deliver quality audits in light of business change disruptors. How should internal auditors respond to this digital disruption?

Challenges facing internal auditors

Internal audit functions face a widening ‘value-gap’ in providing best-of-class assurance services to their organizations. To minimize this gap, choices must be made to enhance certain practices or innovate, all of which is underpinned by effectively executing and delivering quality audits.

A quality audit is one that:

  • Identifies and assesses the right risks for the business — i.e. existing risks, new risks, and emerging risks.
  • Identifies and articulates the proper root cause on all audit issues — often the true root cause remains hidden, impacting full remediation, and re-occurrence of a control breakdown.
  • Identifies a new angle or pattern of exceptions within a business process that line management or risk management wasn’t previously aware of.

Auditors have a unique view into the front-to-back processes and controls, giving them an advantage to see things differently, and evaluate operating effectiveness with greater ease.

A wide range of digital tools exist today to aid the audit journey, helping teams attain consistent quality audits.

Thomson Reuters Connected Risk dashboard. The nimble approach to audit management
Connected Risk dashboard

Intelligent automation and data analytics

There are three types of intelligent automation — Simple, Enhanced, and Cognitive automation. Regardless of the type, they all start with good data as a single source of truth to form the basis of automation.

Data analytics is a crucial part of any audit methodology. Gone are the days of relying on a spreadsheet with formula. Now analytics platforms, reusable and scheduled scripting against known data sets, use of data warehouse(s) with refreshed content, and access to a business unit’s performance metrics, can help lead to data-driven audits and informed decision-making.

Connect for meaningful information

Tools exist today to connect and integrate various business unit content into an organization’s audit platform for use in assessments and audit engagements.

Imagine how much time auditors would save if they could pull in operational risk incidents (losses & near-misses), business unit KPIs and KPR ratings from the last six months, as well as financial numbers, or policy breach information, into an integrated Audit Work System.

The nimble approach to audit management. Thomson Reuters Audit Management Dashboard
Audit Management dashboard

Audit Management on the Connected Risk platform offers that exact technology-enabled collaboration and information sharing that stands out from industry peers in managing stakeholder relationships and content confidentially.

More importantly, this automated solution leaves auditors with more time to practice continuous auditing, focus on key risks, and ultimately allows for more effective, reliable, and focused audit execution to deliver quality audits.

Learn more about Audit Management on the Connected Risk platform

Improving day-to-day audit activities

Investing in and actively using screen-share and video conference capability software ensures auditors can connect with their auditees securely no matter the location or distance.

This increases the efficiency of interactions, information gathering, process walkthroughs, and vetting facts on findings, and lends to faster execution of the overall work product.

Automated data-imports, normalization of data extracts, and optical character recognition are all useful tools to aid in managing structured and unstructured data.

Once defined and set-up, they can be used for routine and repetitive testing activities, such as invoices, contract management, or even bots to source and populate test worksheets — all leading to increased auditor efficiency. A methodology may not be digital per se, but it is essential to making digital tools work better for an organization.

In response to the scale and scope of tech change in the market, audit methodologies need to mature in order to remain relevant, and should be capable of working with the business to embed a risk-control-performance mindset into new processes and adopted technologies. It is also important to demonstrate confidence and the strength of the audit function to the board.

Connected audit management

In an era of unprecedented change, the internal audit profession continues to be challenged to navigate the complexity of digital disruptors within an organization’s practices and control environment.

This results in a need for the audit function to respond to a faster-changing risk profile, while maintaining sophisticated assurance models.

Audit Management on the Connected Risk platform provides the nimble approach necessary to serve business leaders, operational management, audit committees, and regulators in these disruptive periods.

With our streamlined scope and collaborative electronic work papers, audit teams can maintain structure to their work, but with the freedom to apply creative thinking when presented with emerging risks and other activities beyond routine processes.

Other solutions available on the Connected Risk platform that complement our Audit offering include: Risk Management, Compliance Management, Regulatory Change Management, and Model Risk Management.

Use Connected Risk to connect internal and external information from disparate sources for a holistic view of the risks that matter to you