Generic Approach to Data Analysis for Audit

After years and years of mistakes, missteps, or invalid analysis, I have developed a series of steps that can reduce the likelihood or errors and increase the success of analytics for audit purpose. The first step is to ensure that you understand the goals and objectives of the audit.  Then the following steps should be performed: Based upon the audit objectives and risks, and mitigating controls identify analytics that will…

September 5, 2022
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Data Analysis and Data Integrity – part #2

Part #1 looked at why assessing data integrity is an important, value-added activity that supports management decision making.  Part #2 examines things you can do to improve the integrity of the data and your analytic results.  While I will be looking at data integrity primarily from a data analytics perspective, it is important to recognize that many people play a role in the integrity of data.  Ensuring data integrity is…

August 19, 2022
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Data Analysis and Data Integrity – part #1

A common refrain that I hear is, “We can’t rely on the data because it does not have integrity.” This raises a couple of questions in my mind and should in yours as well.  First, what is management using to produce its reports and make decisions?  Second, how accurate does your data have to be to allow you to perform analytics and arrive at valid recommendations/conclusions.  The obvious answer to…

August 10, 2022
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Duplicates Invoices – Root Cause Analysis

Cost recovery firms make millions of dollars identifying and recovering duplicate payments.  They often have well developed analytics that can identify duplicate payments while reducing the number of false positives.  You will pay 25-50% but you are getting money back, so it feels like a win-win.  However, there are two things to keep in mind: 1) they go after the low hanging fruit and the largest possible duplicates; and 2)…

June 10, 2022
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Audit Finding Attribute: Impact

This is the sixth in a series of articles on data analytics and internal audit. This article looks at the audit finding statement: Impact. The focus will be on the use of data analytics to assist you in determining the impact of what was observed (the condition) and to support the recommendation. In simple terms, the impact answers the ‘why should I care.’  What is the impact of controls failing…

March 21, 2022
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Audit Finding Attribute: Cause

This is the fifth in a series of articles on data analytics and internal audit. This article looks at the audit finding statement: Cause. The focus will be on the use of data analytics to assist you in determining the cause of what was observed (the condition) and to support the development of the recommendation. In simple terms, the cause answers the ‘why.’  Why are controls failing to prevent and/or…

March 9, 2022
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Audit Finding Attribute: Condition

This is the fourth in a series of articles on data analytics and internal audit. This article looks at the audit finding statement: Condition. The focus will be on the use of data analytics and how the condition supports the development of the recommendation. In simple terms, the condition is “what is.” Typically, the analytics are testing for the existence of something, and the results are the condition. For example,…

February 28, 2022
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Audit Finding Attribute: Criteria

This is the third in a series of articles on data analytics and internal audit.  This article looks at the audit finding statement: Criteria.  The focus will be on the use of data analytics and how the criteria play an important role in the development of analytics to support and inform the audit. IIA Standard 2210.A3 states that “adequate criteria are needed to evaluate controls.”  Simply put, the audit criteria…

February 20, 2022
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Data Analytics and Internal Audit

This is the next post in a series that discusses the importance of having a proper audit objective, defining the business goals and objectives, and the risks to the achievement of those objectives.  This article will discuss the identification and assessment of risk.  The next series of articles will look at the audit finding statement: Criteria, Condition, Cause, Impact and Recommendation.  The focus will be on the use of data…

February 16, 2022
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Building a Sustainable Analytics Function

Study after study has shown that data analytics is effective and efficient at detecting risk and identifying control weaknesses, non-compliance, and inefficient business processes.  Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) have repeatedly stated that data analysis expertise is a much-needed skill, and surveys by the ACFE and CPA firms over the past 10 to 15 years have rated data extraction, data analysis, and analytical software as critical…

September 8, 2021
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