ACL Success Story – Higher Education – Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

 2012-06-01

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

A full-spectrum analytic platform for higher education

“The internal audit team has gained greater visibility into business processes. This has achieved results for, and improved collaboration with, key stakeholders.”

Hunter Rackley, ACDA, IT Auditor, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

Company Profile

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and serves nearly 200,000 students annually. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and belongs to the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Objectives

Ivy Tech internal auditors first applied ACL data analytics to perform ad-hoc analysis across the organisation’s 14 regions. Recently, the audit team implemented ACL Analytics Exchange as a central, server-based data processing solution that automates repetitive analytic routines. Ivy Tech has also added the AX Exception module to achieve continuous monitoring in the college’s Accounts Receivable, Purchasing and Financial Aid departments.

Today, Ivy Tech has a broad-spectrum analytic platform powered by ACL technology. Internal Audit uses ACL to create ad-hoc tests and convert those routines into repetitive, scheduled analytics. When auditors visit a new region or perform a cyclical task, approved analytics are stored in the secure AX repository and ready for immediate use.

While the audit group creates ad-hoc analytics to fulfill specific stakeholder requests, they also develop continuous monitoring programs that are management-owned. Scheduled analytics run on a monthly or bi-weekly basis, and the web-based AX Exception automatically distributes the results for review and remediation – giving managers deeper insight into critical business processes and controls.

Implementation and Planning

The audit team has created a variety of ad-hoc analytics to support the needs of their growing organisation. For example, Ivy Tech developed a routine that ensures recently-registered students are not dropped from the system until they’ve had adequate time to pay their tuition. In collaboration with Financial Aid, Accounts Receivable and Student Affairs, the auditors created a repeatable analytic that prevents legitimate students from losing their registration status based on non-payment policy deadlines.

Continuous monitoring analytics for the Financial Aid department include a monthly routine that identifies students who drop below part-time enrollment status, but have not received the required exit counseling on their federal loan repayment terms. A bi-weekly Federal Work Study (FWS) analytic also flags students who have been paid more than 100% of the total funds available to them. Another monthly test pinpoints any student whose expected family contribution (EFC) exceeds the institutional limit for federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funds.

“Establishing a direct connection from ACL to our ERP system ensures that IT is not burdened with ongoing data extractions.”

Hunter Rackley, ACDA, IT Auditor, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

In the Accounts Receivable department, the audit team’s continuous monitoring efforts have focused on errant late fees and hold codes. One monthly test flags students assessed late fees for a term in which they had no tuition charges. These fees are often manually assigned, despite a college policy designed to eliminate the practice. Automated data testing, therefore, is an effective way to ensure the accuracy of manual billing processes.

The monthly hold code test is one of the college’s most productive analytics to date. The automated process identifies students who retain AR hold codes on their accounts despite no outstanding tuition balance. These holds create backlogs in a busy registration process, and often prevent qualified students from accessing the classes they need. The automated analytic saves students and staff time, eliminates student dissatisfaction, and identified almost 11,000 errant hold codes immediately after its implementation.

In the Purchasing department, the audit team developed 12 different purchasing card (p-card) analytics to highlight unusual and unauthorised card activities. Currently, more than 350 p-card users spend a combined $300,000 each month through 2,000 transactions. The automated analytics look for multiple cards, single purchase limit exceptions, duplicate charges, split transactions, fuel purchases, and other questionable usage.

Results

Ivy Tech has applied ACL technology to:

  • Conduct ad-hoc testing and continuous monitoring
  • Independently access data files for automated, scheduled analysis
  • Automatically distribute analytic exceptions to key stakeholders

With ACL Analytics Exchange and AX Exception, the Ivy Tech audit team has a server-based data processing solution and a secure way to share analytic content. Scheduled analytics support the management-owned continuous monitoring processes developed for AR, Financial Aid and Purchasing. The automated analytics run at off-peak hours, and the Exception solution shares results directly with business stakeholders.

ACL technology has also eliminated the team’s dependence on IT for reports and data files. Staff can quickly access and test complete data populations and the IT department saves valuable hours that would be spent fulfilling audit requests. Experienced ACL consultants worked with IT to configure the AX installation, and helped the audit department to design an effective Exception workflow. Ivy Tech also received ACL training for IT staff and the audit team, who in turn, have trained approximately 110 endusers on AX Exception technology and the continuous monitoring program.

Next Steps

Ivy Tech auditors are now working to integrate data analytics across the complete audit plan. They will continue to expand the continuous monitoring platforms in Financial Aid and Purchasing, while rolling out similar programs to Accounts Payable, Human Resources, Payroll and IT. Compliance analysis efforts will also benefit from additional ACL testing. Most notably, Ivy Tech will continue to enhance its growing reputation for an efficient and highly collaborative approach to auditing and continuous monitoring.

Friday, June 1, 2012 In: Client Success Stories, Hot Topics Comments (None)

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