Internal audit technology: A back to basics guide
21 January 2021
With the risks to all organisations having increased tenfold in the past year, it is no surprise that our reliance on internal audit technology to help navigate these has also skyrocketed.
Even though the pandemic hasn’t necessarily posed new threats to the economy, it has certainly exacerbated those currently in play. As a result of this, auditors across the globe have been forced to think in a much more agile and broad way about audit scope, to not only prioritise their operational resilience but also consider a wider range of risk scenarios and planned responses.
Evidently, the need to embrace the latest auditing technology to help audit teams manage adverse events in the changing climate has never been greater. However, even when ‘business as usual’ is once again reinstated, there are numerous reasons to place automation at the centre of your audit strategy in the long term.
We go back to basics to tell you why.
What is auditing software?
We all know how critical internal audits are for any organisation – and how complex they can be. Put simply, internal audit software helps to automate the key steps of the audit lifecycle, allowing businesses to conduct audits in a centralised, comprehensive and secure framework.
The best audit management solutions on the market can support all types of audits in your organisation, from regulatory and financial, right through to IT, operational and many more. With automation at the forefront, day to day tasks such as managing workpapers, audit planning, reporting, and tracking findings through remediation become a breeze.
Internal audit software is also a great tool to streamline productivity whilst guaranteeing the highest quality – especially for businesses operating within industries that are subject to a myriad of compliance and safety regulations.
Why is it important and what are the main features?
Mounting pressures on auditors and accounting professionals have meant that in addition to the core internal audit requirements, teams must now also be proactive with risk management as well as provide insights into the changing government legislation and regulations.
Being able to manage the audit process swiftly and efficiently through a robust audit solution vastly reduces the risk of non-compliance and can highlight any potential issues far quicker than traditional approaches to auditing. It can also help you to embed intelligence into your processes, enabling you to make continual improvements over time.
So, what are the principal features of internal audit software?
- Project management functionality – Enables you to manage multiple audits in one place using workflows to capture objectives and scope, and to keep track of key actions and incidents
- Workpapers management – Facilitates going paperless through a single system of record where you can display all goals, tests, criteria, samples, findings, evidence and more
- Risk and control management – Empowers you to update and maintain a library of objects, risks, controls and tests, and to create an unlimited number of risk registers
- Real-time reporting – Provides instant and comprehensive reports, with the ability to communicate high-impact data through graphs or charts
- Planning and scheduling tools – Helps you to risk-assess the audit universe with a set of defined and weighted criteria, whilst highlighting any resourcing issues
What are the key considerations when looking for a new audit management solution?
With numerous auditing software packages available on the market today, it can be a challenge to understand the key things to look out for when sourcing a new solution. Here are our top 5 recommendations to help you find the perfect fit for your organisation:
- A scalable solution that is flexible enough to deal with your evolving needs and is fully configurable
- A software vendor partner that has first-hand industry knowledge and expertise
- A solution that boasts a modern and intuitive UX and UI
- The ability to visualise data with advanced analytics capabilities
- A connected system that creates synergies between workflows and allows auditors, auditees and other stakeholders to communicate in real time
What are the top benefits of internal audit software?
Aside from reducing the sheer admin burden – and the headaches - associated with paper-based internal audits, this specialised software boasts a multitude of benefits, including:
- Streamlined processes – With automation at the core of your internal audit function, audit software can provide a framework around which you can build, maintain and improve your business, ensuring everyone is working cohesively towards the same objectives
- Enhanced audit strategy – Using software to look at the inner workings and finer details of your organisation, you can better identify key issues in your departments and procedures to eliminate wasteful practices and make continual improvements
- Reduced costs – With a growing number of regulations and legislation to keep track of, internal audit software enables you to do this with ease, ensuring you stay on top of business compliance and other potentially costly operational risks
- Greater cybersecurity – Identified in the IIA’s Risk in Focus report as the number one risk facing organisations in 2021, audit software plays a major role in ensuring your organisation’s security program is scaling sufficiently with the rest of the business, and that proper controls are in place for internal audit departments to remain effective as a third line of defence against threats
- Time savings – An auditing solution can not only speed up the full audit lifecycle through automated calculations and workflows, but it can also make it possible to handle complex compliance tasks in half the time
- Fewer errors and duplications – Traditional paper-based auditing processes can leave more room for human error, however, with an audit management tool, automation allows for tasks to be completed more efficiently and accurately, whilst providing a clear view that audits are being carried out to a high standard
Discover how to improve your organisation’s audit strategy whilst reducing costs and enhancing productivity with our powerful internal audit technology, Pentana Audit. You can also request a demo with our friendly team to see the software in action for yourself.