“Companies are racing to unlock value from the next generation of digital technologies, including digital labour, which has moved far beyond using macros on a spreadsheet. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)–one form of digital labour–involves the use of software robots to automate processes.” They do this by processing massive volumes of information in a short time and using that information to complete repetitive tasks, that are easily programmed.
PwC estimates that 45% of work activities can be automated, and this automation would save $2 trillion in global workforce costs.
RPA is one of the most sought after and fast-growing properties in the IT service solutions space today, due to the massive benefits it can deliver for companies. It is a technology that will be quickly adopted, as it will give more accurate outcomes, improve workflow efficiencies and save SIGNIFICANT costs.
So, if your business is still using manual spreadsheets to complete internal audit functions, adapting so that you can keep pace with your competitors and meet your customer demands is going to be crucial!
Automating your internal audit systems today so you are fit for tomorrow has many benefits.
1. You will utilise your teams time much more efficiently
Though important, internal audits can often be a source of frustration, both for the internal audit department and the auditees. The process, particularly if done manually using spreadsheets and similar tools to review internal controls, can be labour intensive and time-consuming. Audit participants can find themselves devoting time looking for evidence and relevant documentation to present, while auditors will often end up having to duplicate work done on-site in their final reports. This can lead to a very negative outlook of all involved, which could further delay the process and yield inaccurate or incomplete results.
By serving as a central hub for all audit activities, software can help cut the time it takes to prepare for, conduct and reports on an audit. Instead of having to spend time searching for relevant documentation prior to an audit, teams can upload relevant paperwork to one (searchable) central repository.
Having all the information in one place can also help to improve the working relationship between internal audit teams and other departments in their organisation by eliminating ambiguity. All the evidence, along with the audit reports, are available to relevant teams, allowing them to understand why the auditor has made a particular decision (e.g. major non-conformance or minor non-conformance) and what corrective action is required. This means internal audit teams and other departments can work together to manage risk more effectively.
Internal Audit solutions like Rapid Auditor offer all these options and more and can be commissioned in a very short space of time.
2. The need for internal audit frequencies is increasing
Think about what is required today to maintain just one aspect of almost every business – your cybersecurity. It is ever-changing and needs constant upkeep and maintenance. The internal audit requirements for this process alone must keep pace – both in content and frequency.
Leveraging information technology systems to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the audit process can help you keep pace, and reduce audit frequency from what was traditionally months or years to days or weeks with ease.
3. The volume of internal audits that must be completed is higher than ever
Due to the efficiency and effectiveness of software solutions and technology, compliance requirements demanded of businesses today is at an all-time high, and increasing exponentially. Ensuring that your business is meeting these requirements means your internal audit requirements are also increasing exponentially.
Thanks to software as a service solutions, like Rapid Auditor, all aspects of auditing can become automated to save time and improve productivity and efficiency. As you create them, audit checklists can be saved and used for any future audits. Saved audit checklists can be modified and updated or saved under new titles to prevent you from wasting time by having to start from scratch each time. Checklists can easily be printed off to ensure that your off-line record-keeping meets regulations.
Audit Management Software reminds the auditors and their auditees a few days before the audit is due. On the first day of the new audit, the software flags the audit to the auditor and remains on their system until the audit is completed. This helps auditors stay on top of their audit commitments. The software allows auditors to make amendments even when the program is running, which means that alterations can be made as matters arise when the audit is in progress. Auditees are also reminded of what they need to supply the Auditor in order to ensure information is supplied accurately and on time.
Audit Management Software like Rapid Auditor will also keep a record of previous audits and authorized staff members can have access to this information when and wherever necessary. Since previous audits are stored, the final results of a current audit can easily be compared to past audits.
Once the Audit Management software has completed its cycle, a list of issues and problems will be reported back to the auditor, clearly stating the necessary actions required to remain compliant. The software can track and acknowledge when these tasks have been completed.
4. Reporting timelines are shorter than ever
It is always hard to keep track of actions identified from audits and to ensure they are completed as delegated and on time. This process is however critical to the success of the process.
Audit Management Software often uses very effective dashboard monitoring tools, that allow both auditor and auditee to easily monitor and track progress, and to identify gaps that need attending to on time.
In today’s whirlwind business environment where we are all expected to work at double the pace and where that output is responsible for keeping valuable employees and stakeholders safe, it is exceptionally difficult to keep pace and deliver high-quality value-adding output. Fortunately, Audit Management Software solutions can assist significantly and cost-effectively.
Companies like OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the Africa Licensee of the award-winning Rapid Global Software, have been delivering compliance software solutions for over 20 years. Their only business is the continued development and improvement of their software, to make sure that the solutions keep pace with the ever-changing landscape. They have used the learning of over 3 million users worldwide to develop a product that speaks to an organizations audit needs. Login to https://ovs-solutions.com/products/ to see what their solutions offer.
OVS Solutions, the Africa Licensee of Rapid Global, also have a great support team who are available to assist with live demonstrations, user guides and relevant information you may require. They can help you deliver on your plan.
PWC October 2017
M Quinn 2020