Auditing practices are constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses and their customers. Modernization of audit processes is essential for internal audit productivity to keep up with the latest technological developments, such as data analytics and assurance environment regulations. This blog post will explore how modernizing audits can benefit businesses, improve customer service, and ensure compliance with the latest laws and regulations. It will also discuss seven reasons to modernize audits.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, word-processing documents and electronic spreadsheets were huge improvements on the prior paper-based audit processes, which generated materials that were difficult to share or collaborate on. Thirty years on, document-based audits’ risks and administrative challenges have become apparent, making a strong case for adopting modern audit technology.
Here are seven reasons organizations must understand that internal audit management software is game-changing.
1. Important data gets trapped in electronic documents
Data in documents effectively becomes “dark”: impossible to search, reference, analyse, export, report on, or access on mobile devices. Large audit teams must access data through all these means to deliver valuable insights and support decision-making.
2. Team collaboration means data integrity can’t be assured
In a document-based internal audit process, with team collaboration, there’s no reliable way to tell who has touched the document or what changes may have been made, eroding confidence in the data. Metadata such as tick marks, review notes, auditor commentary, and inter-document links and references get embedded into document files, making it virtually impossible to enforce referential integrity. With multiple users accessing the data, the accuracy and consistency of that data may change over its life cycle.
3. Maintaining relationships with other information is impossible
Because stand-alone documents are not databases, they cannot create and maintain relationships between data in different files. Hyperlinking and other document-embedded features often break or need to be faster or more reliable. Systems that rely on deep document integration are prone to data loss when files are corrupted, edited by disparate users, or moved, breaking relationships and references. This doesn’t help your team effectively meet their objectives.
4. Deep links to external documents are fragile
“Deep linking” — hyperlinking information inside and between documents — relies on metadata embedded in documents, with references stored in the software system. Because links from inside one document to another depend on this externally stored reference, relationships between documents often break. Moreover, it is also impossible to archive or export an audit project without breaking those links.
5. Rolling internal audits forward is time-consuming
Updating primary internal audit documentation programmatically is dangerous and does not help team productivity. When you use documents to roll an audit forward, you must manually edit each document to avoid erratic behaviour. That’s expensive, time-consuming and prone to error.
6. Software updates can break file integration
File integration in audit software tends to break when Microsoft Office or other document-editing applications are updated and file formats change. New versions of Office sometimes force an upgrade of the audit software or change the embedded metadata, causing data integrity risks. Even in the best case, upgrades require rigorous testing, which causes lengthy delays in software implementations.
7. Administration is complex and burdensome
Creating and managing document-embedded metadata requires legacy audit systems, including applications or complex web browser plug-ins, to be installed and maintained on every machine. These applications create significant administrative burdens for IT, including compatibility issues and high-maintenance installation rollouts and upgrades.
Would you be ready to move ahead? Get in touch with us for an obligation-free HighBond Audit Management demonstration.