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How do you get all your auditors doing analytics?

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

This question seemed to be the most intriguing question for the audience of our Analytics Panel discussion at the 2018 User Forum. Our three panelists are from audit teams of between 25 to 35 auditors and from three very different industries. During their introductions, they told the audience that every auditor on the team has Analytics and is expected to be doing analytics as a part of their audits.

I thought this question “How do you get all your auditors doing analytics?” was a great question because it showed that the audience:

1. Understood the value of analytics on the audit process and

2. Wanted to expand the use of analytics in their own audit shops

It makes perfect sense. If they see the value in data analytics, why wouldn’t they want to expand it? Many customers I spoke with are performing analytics in a centralized manner. Meaning they have one or a few people performing all their analytics and the rest of the team really aren’t doing much and unfortunately, aren’t expected to. The audience understood the obvious – if they had more resources capable of performing analytics they could perform more analytics on more audits.

Most of the audience members had seen Analytics, some had a few licenses, and they understood that it was easy to use, but they fell into the trap of “we’ve always done it this way” or “data analytics requires special skills that only a few people on the team have.”

The panelists, however, were adamant that everyone on the team can and should be performing analytics. They discussed several things they were doing to promote analytics across the audit team. They all did team sharing, one called it a lunch and learn, where an auditor would get the opportunity to share analytics they had performed on a project. They explained how early on, this helped the other auditors see the light of what they could be doing. Of course, all of them provided training to the team and explained that the training on how to use Analytics is easy, allowing them to concentrate on when to use analytics.

All of them talked about making analytics an integral part of the audit planning process and how their more experienced analytics resources were instrumental in this to help other auditors understand when analytics could be used on the audit. Recognizing some auditors will take to analytics more quickly than others, some of the panelists said that the use of analytics is a part of everyone’s performance objectives.

We all left that session understanding that it’s a process to get all auditors performing analytics, but also that it really can be done if audit management can buy in. In addition to the right software and training, it takes leadership to set the expectation with the team that they can do this and put the mechanisms in place to work a plan to move the team down this path.

By Ken Petersen, MBA, PMP

#Assurance #Auditing #Analytics