“Our organization’s huge increase in productivity and ROI can largely be attributed to ACL training and the use of their technology in our field audits. As a result, I would highly recommend ACL-certified instruction.”
Cliff Cole, Computer Audit Specialist, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Office of Inspector General
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities, and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces U.S. fair housing laws. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) provides independent and objective reporting to the Secretary and Congress to promote positive changes in the integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness of HUD operations.
The HUD OIG has used ACL audit analytics since 1996 and maintains a strong, management-supported commitment to this market-leading technology. They have an authorised ACL technology group license for several hundred people and, in addition, ACL Server technology. The OIG’s Office of Audit recently completed a series of on-site ACL training courses at 11 locations nationwide. Led by Computer Audit Specialist Cliff Cole, OIG audit managers engaged two ACL-certified instructors to provide beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes for approximately 12-16 students per class. The goal was to train as many of the nearly 350 OIG audit employees as possible – to enhance technical knowledge, boost individual skills with audit analytics, and equip audit teams with greater confidence and independence.
Following each course, the ACL instructors also conducted two-day immersion workshops using actual OIG data, audit work, and case studies. This gave students a hands-on way to test their new ACL knowledge with relevant OIG challenges. The management team was careful to enroll students in the appropriate training level, ensuring the course work was neither too basic nor too advanced for each individuals skill level.
In post-class surveys, OIG audit students consistently gave the ACL training top marks, with an average score of 9.8 out of 10. The same two instructors delivered the courses across the country throughout the full three-month period, which ensured a consistent experience. It also gave the instructors a wide breadth of knowledge about the OIG, including its day-to-day operations, technical data, and audit plans.
By coordinating such an extensive training effort, HUD OIG audit managers helped audit staff gain comfort and proficiency with ACL audit analytics. The training has also drastically reduced the number of technical service calls that Cole and his colleagues must answer. Instead, individual audit teams now have the independence and confidence to more effectively use audit analytics in their everyday activities.
In the federal government, auditor productivity is generally measured by actual dollar savings, ROI and how quickly audit reports are completed. Cole says, “Due to the increased usage of technology for our audits, we saved millions of dollars in productivity gains. This saving can directly be tied back to our ACL training.”
According to Cole, the two ACL-certified instructors so effectively applied internal case studies to teach ACL principles that they could easily have been mistaken for experienced OIG employees. The OIG Office of Audit also had 12 advanced students who took the ACL Certified Data Analyst (ACDA) examination after the summer classes. All of these students successfully achieved the ACDA designation.