By Peter Miller
In a recent post my colleague, Mike Vilimek, wrote about “Why data analysis hasn’t been used more” He brought up some really good points about making data analysis easier and more accessible to every member of the audit team. Mike’s posting reminded me of something I heard from a partner organization a number of years ago at a conference.
That partner felt that it wasn’t that ACL was difficult to use, it was that it was “easy not to use,” for a number of his clients. During the course of the conversation it became apparent that those organizations that claimed that it was easy not to use data analysis technology were the ones that struggled with changing the way they went about executing their audit plans. You see, just throwing software at a problem never solved anything.
Hey! I’m a software guy and I truly believe this to be true. Software alone will not fix anything. It takes a combination of people, process, and software to make a difference. In a way it’s like fire. For there to be fire, one needs oxygen, heat and fuel. In any of the three is missing, no fire.
So when it comes to succeeding at a data analysis initiative in any organization, one needs to:
Without all three, you’ll probably not succeed and it will become easy not to use data analysis during your next audit. If it isn’t used during the next audit, people will forget most everything that they learned during their training course. They might even forget to consider the use of data analysis at all. As a result, your investment in your people and your software will be wasted.
I’ve seen top performing audit shops that address all 3 components in an organized, methodical and planned program. They are the ones that take to new tools and techniques like proverbial house on fire. Those that don’t tend to become back-sliders who revert to manual sampling checklist auditing.
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