Electronic working papers in financial audits were a huge improvement over ad hoc systems of managing documents and spreadsheets. However, they created an immense new problem of their own: Pools of important insights and information often wound up trapped inside documents, becoming what is known as “dark data.”
Impossible to search, reference, analyze, export, report on or access on mobile devices, dark data is unable to address these key demands of large audit teams or generate the insights needed to inform decision-making.
But we’re now in a new era of audit technology. Internal audit teams are adopting audit management software: intuitive software that can access and interrogate 100% of their data, protecting the organization and proving the true value of the audit function.
Why move to audit management software?
Modern audit management software offers numerous advantages over electronic working papers:
- It improves productivity of audit fieldwork; creating structure around procedures efficiently guides staff and avoids confusion
- It creates more consistency in approach and quality between audits; lifting the work out of audits and into the audit software sets up a repeatable, structured methodology
- It elevates the quality of audit insights; advanced tools enable reporting and analysis of audit information across teams and projects, helping to identify higher-quality, higher-level and deeper root cause insights
- It accelerates the delivery and expands the breadth of audit insights; data can be fully queried to rapidly address stakeholder questions without the need to wait for quarterly or semiannual audit reports
- It enhances the presentation of high-impact reports; intuitive interactive dashboards and visualizations powerfully present insights while leaving behind the burden of manually compiled reports
- It makes audit roll-forward easier and less invasive; use a one-click roll-forward and eliminate the need to update embedded links
- It enhances audit automation; take an “edit once, update everywhere” approach, automate audit report creation and initiate easy cloning, roll-forward and reuse of audit work
Audit management software also relieves administrative and IT burdens by:
- Improving performance
- Reducing data integrity risks from storing embedded “non-document” metadata in files
- Eliminating version conflicts, PC installations, and upgrades of software and complex browser add-ins
- Ensuring that data is exportable, transferable and accessible on any device
While it can be hard to replace embedded systems and processes, eliminating dark data will create lasting change, making your audits more reliable and insightful and your processes simpler to manage. To learn how you can evolve from a culture of dark data, download our white paper “The 7 Dangers of Document-Based Auditing,” which discusses the benefits of moving to purpose-built audit management systems.