“With continuous auditing, we apply technology to audit controls at the point that actions or events occur. That is key in moving from a reactive traditional audit, to an immediate, proactive one.”
Mining company AngloGold Ashanti had a goal to increase their audit efficiency while maintaining their ongoing strong business performance. Using ACL technology from ACL Authorised Distributor, CQS, the company has been able to consistently monitor operations for improved performance and integrity. As a result, the gold mining giant is moving forward in its plan for a company-wide continuous auditing program that supports operational excellence.
AngloGold Ashanti Limited is a global gold mining company formed in 2004 by the merger of AngloGold and the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation. The organisation has 21 operations on four continents and generates revenues of over £2.2 billion and presently employs over 60,000 people. For over a decade, the company has used ACL data analytic solutions to support internal audit.
According to Marius Kies, Internal Audit Manager at AngloGold Ashanti, the minerals extraction industry faces almost unprecedented challenges to maintain performance and profitability across dispersed and complex operations. “In these times, it is not good enough to look back over six months at audit time and discover wrongdoing or process inefficiency that may have cost the company money. Rather, as an internal audit team, we need to identify any deviations, weaknesses or breaches immediately — providing the ability to take action before losses become serious.”
Kies notes that fraud or other wrongdoing often starts on a small scale before spiralling into more serious transgressions. “Through the concept of continuous auditing, we are working to identify and eliminate any such incidences at an early stage.”
Achieving continuous auditing is, however, an ongoing challenge for the department. Complicated by the fact that the audit team for the entire company consists of only 50 people, of which 35 are centralised in South Africa. “With a relatively small team, it is imperative that we are supported by software systems that automate and consolidate data collection, analysis and reporting,” Kies points out.
ACL has provided a reliable and long-standing solution for the gold mining company. Offering a range of analysis that provides improved business assurance including ad hoc and repetitive analysis. According to Katharine Janisch, General Manager, Risk & Internal Audit, ACL technology provides organisations with a higher degree of confidence in the quality and completeness of business assurance processes.
The software reaches data from virtually any source, across any system, through a consistent user interface whether housed in mainframes, servers, legacy systems, or PC networks. “By independently comparing and analysing data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), or other enterprise applications, ACL technology enables audit, financial, and controls professionals to gain immediate insight into the transactional data underlying their business processes and financial reporting,” she adds.
Kies explains the AngloGold Ashanti history with the solution: “Initially, we used ACL Analytics versions to extract exception reports during the year. It served the company well in this role, delivering various levels of detail. Later, this progressed to the implementation of a mainframe version operating in tandem with the PC ones and that provided the ability to look at large volumes of data that was not possible with the PC version.”
However, as AngloGold Ashanti moved to a position where it sought tighter control, Kies says it has moved on to the ACL Analytics Exchange business assurance platform. “With continuous auditing, the idea is that we apply technology to audit controls at the point that actions or events occur. That is key in moving from a reactive traditional audit, to an immediate, proactive one.”
ACL Analytics Exchange, Kies notes, fell perfectly within the company’s strategy. “We implemented during December 2008 and January 2009, coinciding with a move away from reporting on the mainframe. As a consequence, data is more accessible for ACL from across the mainframe and all other platforms,” Kies continues.
The result of that data availability is that the auditors are equipped to deliver consolidated reports across the dispersed organisation.
Supported by Analytics Exchange, progress is being made with the continuous auditing schedule. “At this stage we are able to automatically generate reports. That’s very satisfying.”