With ACL Workpapers, Traina & Associates Streamlines Workflow to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Costs
“What began as a search for a simple tool that would automate the audit tracking process concluded with the adoption of a full-fledged audit management solution. The flexibility of ACL Workpapers really astounded us.”
Lisa Traina, CPA, CITP, CGMA, President, Traina & Associates
Traina & Associates specialises in Information Systems General Controls Reviews, Network Security Reviews, IT Security Reviews and other customised IT audits. The team performs more than 200 engagements per year, helping financial institutions, hospitals, CPA firms and other businesses ensure information system security.
With the Traina & Associates team frequently putting in long overtime hours, President Lisa Traina, CPA, CITP, CGMA, investigated whether a cost-effective solution could improve workflow, automate the audit process and help the team stay ahead of industry advancements. The firm had previously relied on its own proprietary audit management software, but questioned the wisdom of committing additional resources to develop an upgrade. Migrating from their proprietary system required identifying an alternative tool that was affordable, flexible, easy-to-use, encouraged collaboration and increased audit efficiencies. Traina & Associates did not expect that just one solution could meet all of their criteria.
The firm began examining limited solutions that would improve overall business workflow. Along the way they considered enterprise-based audit management packages, but found them too costly. In addition, many of these on-premise solutions were designed for financial auditors and were too rigid to address the firm’s specialised IT audit needs. These in-house options also required significant staff training, a lengthy installation process and a large up-front investment.
Traina discovered ACL™ Workpapers and found a flexible solution that met all of the firm’s requirements. They determined that a software-as-a-service approach would pick up where enterprise offerings left off. “The flexibility really astounded us. We could get up and running in a hurry, and we wouldn’t need lots of training,” Traina explained. With no large up-front investment required, the firm could begin using the service immediately. “When I first discovered ACL Workpapers, I was pleased that it not only met our requirements, but was also cost-effective.”
As an IT audit provider, security was also an important factor. “Since we’re in the IT security business, we performed our own extensive due diligence to ensure data would be secure. We tell people that if we’re comfortable with the security, then you know it must be robust,” Traina elaborated. By moving to a cloud-based system, the firm can further protect the security of its client’s data by eliminating the risk of confidential information being exposed in the event of a lost or stolen laptop.
“I can’t even begin to describe just how much time we saved with ACL Workpapers. It still blows my mind. The backlog of work we have right now is clearer than it’s been in seven years. Now, our field auditors sign off one section at a time, and their work is immediately available for review. That’s a huge deal, because while they’re still finishing other sections of their work, our reviewers have already started on the work that was completed that morning. As a result, the work distribution in the review process is incredibly streamlined.”
Lisa Traina, CPA, CITP, CGMA, President, Traina & Associates
The ACL Workpapers set-up process was easy, with no hardware or software to install. “We literally picked ACL Workpapers and then went live the next month,” Traina explained. “That’s a pretty quick turnaround from making a decision.”
The team was not only set-up within a month, but achieved proficiency with ACL Workpapers before even completing the first audit. “When we performed our first audit with ACL Workpapers, everybody went out in the field with their old software still loaded on their computers so they could revert back to the old system if there was a hiccup,” Traina described. “But we never turned back and now use ACL Workpapers exclusively.”
Traina & Associates uses ACL Workpapers to:
Because organised fieldwork is productive fieldwork, ACL Workpapers’ simple, flexible framework is excellent for driving consistent results in any kind of audit. For Traina & Associates, the ACL Workpapers solution fully automates the reporting of overall audit progress, provides procedure-by-procedure status, and details status by auditor. With the progress of all audits viewable on one screen, reviews can easily determine whether projects are on schedule.
Using ACL Workpapers, the team easily allocates work among field auditors; work can be divided and assigned, and the flow closely matches how fieldwork is done. An auditor can sign off on one section at a time, making the work immediately available for review and eliminating waits and delays between team members. Supervisors may review findings as soon as a field auditor signs off, allowing for the fieldwork to be completed during the review process. Overall, Traina estimates that workflow productivity has risen 25%. As a further example of their efficiency gains, preparing a final report on fieldwork findings under the old system took about 1.5 hours to complete. Using ACL Workpapers, a team member can now produce the report in less than 30 minutes.
“Another unanticipated benefit is the greatly reduced amount of email in my inbox. Instead, I can now view the status and questions on every audit job at any time within Workpapers,” she added. In the ever-changing IT business, the firm is also able to easily and instantaneously adapt its audit scope and procedures to keep pace.
The Traina & Associates team appreciates that ACL Workpapers, as a cloud-based service, enables them to work on any device, anywhere. With many of the firm’s professionals performing their audit work in the field, the firm anticipates integrating the ACL Workpapers mobile audit management app in the near future.