“Both management and our Audit Committee quickly recognized the significant benefits of ACL.”
Jay Goldberg, Vice President of Internal Audit, Take-Two Interactive Software
A global publisher, developer and distributor of video games, Take-Two Interactive Software has an eight-member internal audit team split geographically between New York City and the UK, with business units spread around the world. The audit team recently implemented ACL Analytics Exchange to gain seamless access to corporate data, conduct targeted queries, and perform continuous controls monitoring on a variety of critical business activities. With Analytics Exchange, the team can more effectively share approved analysis routines and has significantly cut the time required to monitor and report exceptions.
Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a global publisher, developer and distributor of interactive entertainment. Take-Two also distributes software, hardware and accessories in North America through its Jack of All Games subsidiary. The company has approximately 2,100 employees working in 15 countries, and Take-Two’s common stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO.
With global operations and a diverse range of development activities and products, Take-Two’s eight-member internal audit team wanted a powerful, reliable business assurance platform. The auditors need a consistent way to perform queries, analyze business information, and test specific data sets in a timely manner.
Ensuring direct, secure access to the company’s production databases and working with up-to-date information from multiple business units is imperative for the audit team to fulfill its independent monitoring mission. In the past, auditors had to wait for IT to pull data sets and often struggled to access the data they needed, when they needed it.
The audit team was also looking for a way to perform targeted queries and to effectively stratify and segment data samples – while still conducting complete data analyses. Spreadsheet software was clumsy and presented size limitations, while manual analysis activities could occupy weeks of valuable staff time.
Take-Two successfully implemented ACL Analytics Exchange. The process was seamless, says Jay Goldberg, Vice President of Internal Audit. “I thought the installation went very smoothly.”
The team recently began using Analytics Exchange to routinely match AP data with Human Resources records in order to highlight employees who are also vendors. Some of these matches will be legitimate (reflecting travel reimbursements and other appropriate activities), but Analytics Exchange makes it simple to find exceptions that require further investigation. The team also regularly uses ACL to find potential duplicate payments to vendors.
Take-Two also applies the technology to conduct a segregation of duties (SOD) analysis by extracting and analyzing security access data from two ERP systems that cover the Company’s global operations. In the past, external consultants performed this analysis once a year. Take-Two eventually began conducting the analysis internally, but it took at least several weeks worth of manual work to complete. With Analytics Exchange, the monthly analysis takes just five minutes and produces a detailed report. The team can quickly spot potential issues and control exceptions, which they can easily share with the appropriate IT or business unit to investigate.
The Take-Two internal audit team has successfully applied ACL Analytics Exchange to gain direct, independent access to the Company’s production databases. There’s no need to wait for IT assistance, so even urgent requests from management and internal investigations can be tackled immediately. With Analytics Exchange, the auditors can securely pull, query, sort and analyze data with great flexibility. They also have an automated way to sample and can easily stratify segments, target select areas, and still test full data populations.
The team stores approved scripts in the Analytics Exchange central audit repository, which makes it simple to effectively share analysis routines between auditors working in the U.S. and Europe. Auditors can quickly access existing scripts and customize them for their instance of the ERP system. This prevents auditors from starting at square one each time they want to perform a specific data test.
Take-Two continues to send auditors to ACL training courses held in convenient locations around the world. “I think ACL provides serious bang for the buck with its training,” says Goldberg. “It’s well geared so that users walk out of the sessions with skills they can apply immediately. It’s not conceptual; it’s very hands-on.”
The audit team also makes extensive use of the ACL Technical Support team for both technical hiccups and more detailed data query issues. “It can be a two minute question, or you can be on the phone for two hours, and ACL’s technical support staff will talk you through the whole process – even if they don’t know your data, structures or database,” says Goldberg. “It’s amazing how you hang up the phone and the problem has been solved.”
Moving forward, the Take-Two audit team will use ACL Analytics Exchange to monitor the company’s General Ledger entries. Targeted data analysis routines will look for credit balances in accounts that should have debit balances, and identify accounts that have long standing zero balances – suggesting that these accounts should be closed to eliminate potential risks. With Analytics Exchange, it’s easy for the audit team to deliver these types of exception reports to the Finance Department. Auditors have independent access to the database and can quickly sift through the data to produce a targeted list.