Auditing the Right Things

Is there a mismatch between where internal audit spends its time auditing and the risks that organizations face?  Boards/audit committees should constantly re-evaluate whether internal audit is being used effectively to deliver risk-based assurance.  The fundamental questions for boards/audit committees are: are we doing the right audits; and are we doing audits right. In previous articles I have discussed ‘how to do an audit right’ – namely, the importance of…

September 20, 2018
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ACL Scripts Part #4

In my previous discussion about variables, I neglected to mention ACL system-generated variables.  These are more evident now, and can easily be seen by using the Variables tab in the Overview/Navigation window.  The most common use of ACL system-generated variables are those created by the STATISTICS commands: MAX1, MIN1, HIGH1, LOW1, AVERAGE1, RANGE1, TOTAL1, COUNT1 and ABS1. These, and other variables, are created by the execution of ACL commands and…

July 5, 2018
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ACL Scripts Part #3

Scripts are a powerful way of improving consistency and speed when processing the same commands over and over again.  But they can also be used to provide relatively novice users with the ability to run more complex analysis. By now you may be ready to develop more interactive scripts that you can give to other users.  This usually requires prompting the user for input; validating the input; and acting upon…

June 29, 2018
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Sentiment Analysis – Made easy?

Not being an expert in pretty much anything has never stopped me from taking ideas from others and adapting them to my needs.  Typically, this has meant transferring a theoretical analytic to a specific – practical – use.  In this case, I wanted to look at the use of sentiment analysis for fraud risk assessment. As many of you may already know, I use a software package called ACL.   I…

April 16, 2018
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Got Analytics – Now What?

What could be worse than not having an analytics capability? Having an analytics capability, but not being sure what to do with it!  This means that you have invested in developing analytics to access your business systems, but now are unsure about: Which analytics do I run? How often should I run them? What do the results mean? How do I verify the results? How do I deal with false…

April 7, 2018
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Simple Fraud Analytics in Accounts Payable

There is a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligent (AI) and unstructured data and how this will identify fraud and make life easier for financial monitoring, internal control and audit.  This all sounds great, but we are not even making use of the structured data we have and some basic analysis techniques.  How then can we jump to AI and obtain reliable, understandable, actionable results? So, let me give you…

November 23, 2017
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Value of Peer Community (formerly the ACL Forum)

Recently there was a discussion on the ACL peer community between an ACL expert user and myself over when certain commands were included in the basic set of ACL commands (e.g. Cross Tab).  I had built a cross tab script before the command existed in ACL, but was wrong on both the date I created the script and when it was included as part of the ACL command set.  This…

June 18, 2017
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Workspaces

Always looking for ideas for my blog, I could not resist when Chris Broussard asked me to write something on ACL workspaces. Simply put, an ACL workspace is used define either physical fields or expressions.  However, instead of defining these fields in the table layout, the definitions are stored in a separate project item (i.e. a workspace).  The main advantage is that the workspace can be shared by multiple data…

May 25, 2017
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Statistics

Sometimes even the simplest analytics are extremely useful.  They often tell you what is happening in the detailed transactions without you having to make assumptions about the data.  STATISTICS is one of those commands: with a couple clicks of the mouse you can get: Min and Max Highest and Lowest ‘X’ values Number of Positive, Negative and Zero valued transactions Average Median, Mode and Q25 and Q75 But like any…

April 6, 2017
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CLASSIFY with Statistics Option

I have been using ACL software for more than 25 years – back before the Windows version even existed.  It wasn’t the first audit software that I had used, and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be the last audit software I would use.  Previously I had used AutoAudit, Audit Analyzer, Decision Analyzer, IDEA, ReportWriter, Easytrieve and various spreadsheet packages (Mulitplan, Visicalc, and Lotus1-2-3).  I told myself that I would…

March 20, 2017
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