Continuous Auditing: To do or not to do

Published | Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Almost every process in a company can now be represented by data.

For example, employees exist in a human resources system and are identified by their employee numbers, in the same way fixed assets have asset numbers or barcodes.

Using data analytics, the binary code of zeros and ones (110011) from complex telecoms switches, this can be decoded into data that is easily decipherable to provide insight in revenue assurance. Some organizations may take this a step further and analyse access tag swipes at entry or exit access points and link that to their payroll to enable them to review number of hours worked thereby tracing productivity across their ranks. Others analyse past exception reports from analytics which provide them with future red flags by using predictive analytics.

Imagine what is happening if you are not already using data analytics in your audits, and only start in 10 years’ time. Whatever money you could have saved now would be gone and potentially untraceable. It also means you will need to analyse today’s data in the future to try and build trend analysis models that will help with your then current status.

Basically, going the continuous auditing route now, instead of waiting until a future date, will make the overall audit function more efficient and effective. Auditors are able to focus on high risk areas while the business gets periodic exception reports from the automated continuous auditing process.

“Continuous audits are usually technology-driven and designed to automate error checking and data verification in real time. A continuous audit driven system generates alarm triggers that provide advance notice about anomalies and errors detected by the system”. – Investopedia

Let’s face it, all business transactions and processes can now be interpreted using data. So why would you choose to only start analysing it in 10 years from now, when value can be added now in real time. Think about it, stop living in the past and aim for a bright future.


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