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Continuous Auditing: State of the Art

January 4, 2016 by
Filed under: Continuous Monitoring, General

Many years now, continuous auditing and continuous monitoring have been 'hot' topics. Time to measure the current state of affairs and luckily, Past month KPMG published a research on these subjects. Some highlights:

  • 50% of the respondent's perceives Continuous Auditing / Monitoring as broader assurance with a greater coverage and depth;
  • Many organizations expect big growth and development in the area of CA/CM the upcoming two years;
  • 40% of the respondent's is considering the application of CA/CM at this moment.

(Source: KPMG - Continuous Auditing and Monitoring - 2011)

As BWise ventures into these markets we are always very interested in these matters and the results of the KPMG research are clearly in line with our understanding of the current market. It's a confirmation of what we already perceived as a growth market, an obligation to follow as a frontrunner and an opportunity to play with 'state of the art' technology and concepts.

As a product manager i have a lot of insights into our current and planned developments and I'm sometimes excited and privileges to be able to reveal some 'juicy' details ;) As many of our customers have seen already, we have a module for Continuous Monitoring. An application that on a continuous basis monitors data from your ERP applications such as Oracle and SAP to measure and 'evidence' the effectiveness of your controls, or provide more detailed insights in your Key Risk Indicators or Key Performance Indicators. We do acknowledge that this is a new area to venture into for most organizations looking to tighten and easy their internal control efforts; but for Audit this has been common practice for many years.

For both groups, the challenges typically are:

  • Easy data retrieval;
  • Reusable, repeatable and sustainable data analytics with 'standard' analyses to capitalize on knowledge and better sharing;
  • Incorporating quite 'technical' analyses results into a readable and understandable audit work paper and file;
  • Decent reporting readable by business control owners and management;
  • Maintaining the much required audit trail;
  • Audit project management and secure client data handling;
  • Workflow support, from preparation, retrieval, analysis reporting and filing with direct insight into current state and progress.
Some of these challenges are specific to Internal Audit (ad-hoc auditing) and some are identical as the challenges for Continuous Monitoring. In our experiences, Audit Analytics is often seen as the stepping stone towards more Continuous Monitoring where the primary responsibility of this analysis lies not within the Audit department but with the business owner (which is possible under the right circumstances).

By extending our current Internal Audit module with our CCM capabilities we are aiming at serving both worlds, while offering 'push the button' migration capabilities to push the responsibility to the business in a later stage (a fully integrated approach). Next to that, it's aimed at external audit as well to support their work papers and data analytics efforts in an easy to use way that is suitable for almost any Auditor.

Continuous Auditing - state of the artI believe that all of the challenges above will have been tackled in one of our future releases and as an ex- external auditor I know from experiences that this seems like 'utopia' ;) Well: be patient and I'll personally show you how it works in the future.

Tags: GRC, Continuous Monitoring

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