Investing in automation? See how Diligent Audit measures up

Kaelyn Barron

Your audit team is dealing with a lot: compiling reports for meetings and regulators, managing requests for data, and even providing strategic insight. Your to-do list is getting longer by the day, but your budget and resources likely remain the same.

What if you could give your teams greater agility, visibility and transparency without adding headcount?

With Diligent Audit, you can achieve all three of these benefits through automation and dynamic workflows that address the rising pressure to do more with less and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Diligent recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to find out just what kinds of costs, benefits and returns our customers can expect from their investment, allowing you to get a better idea of what your team can achieve.

Here, we'll explore some of the highlights from their Total Economic Impact (TEI) study.    

Manual processes hold a public company back    

Forrester focused its study on a $3.5 billion company. They interviewed leaders in internal audit, audit innovation, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance and audit operations about their experiences with Diligent Audit.

Before using Diligent Audit, the 100-person audit team, plus roughly 1,000 colleagues involved in SOX-related work, performed many of their activities manually — including compliance and reporting. Much of their communication took place via email.

Even the presence of a different, legacy system didn’t add much in terms of efficiency. Between eight audit committee meetings per year, quarterly SOX activities and other demands, the wasted hours added up.

Each of these events:   

  • Required 20 people for report and document preparation  

  • Took up four weeks — 160 hours — of each employee’s time   

 “We knew we needed to be more efficient,” said the Head of Audit Innovation.    

Enter Diligent Audit  

Once the company switched to Diligent Audit, they found that greater efficiency was just the beginning of the software's benefits. Automated processes enabled a more thorough and proactive audit ecosystem, with a comprehensive view of risks and controls.

With the ability to cover more risks with fewer resources, the audit team now has the bandwidth to grow into its strategic role and help future-proof their organization against change. 

ROI by the numbers  

After costs related to licensing, setup, training, maintenance and management, how much time and money did Diligent Audit save this organization?

The $775,000 investment has yielded $2.72 million in benefits, according to Forrester’s three-year, risk-adjusted present value analysis.

The audit team reported $916,000 in savings just from the automation of data collection and compilation. Productivity gains added another $1.3 million in ROI.

With Diligent Audit:   

  • 30 robots now perform storyboard and dashboard functions for reporting  

  • Automated controls testing trims these four-hour activities down to 30-60 minutes, across 200-300 controls  

  • The team now needs 35%-50% less people-power to complete its 25-30 projects each year, freeing up staff time for the vital advisory part of their job   

Interviewees also noted how Diligent Audit centralizes compliance, eliminating backlogs for the audit team and accelerating audit activities across the whole organization.

More than 1,000 business users now have direct access to the information they need.

“[Business users] don't have to email us asking about this or that,” the Head of Audit Innovation told Forrester. “They can do it themselves.”

Previously for status reports and progress updates, business users “would just wait for follow-ups [to their requests] or [they would] request [a] progress update from their audit partners.” the Head of Audit Innovation explained. “Now they have this real-time dashboard where they can see the real-time progress of their activities.”

With Diligent Audit as their single source of truth, users are connected to the most current data, and their most cumbersome tasks are automated and accelerated.

“Previously, when we [requested] data, it [took] us two months to obtain [it].” the Head of Audit Innovation shared. “Now, because the tool can connect directly to the system, we can just reuse the scripts and have the data instantly.”

Efficiencies like these have cut timeframes in half for some data analytics projects, according to the Head of Internal Audit.  

Benefits beyond time and money   

Saving time and money are two critical goals for audit, compliance and risk management teams — but peace of mind is just as essential.

The AVP of audit operations noted improvement in the quality of reports and computations. “Because we automate, it lessens the possibility of a mistake.”

Meanwhile, the AVP of Audit Operations noted an improved ability to spot and understand risk. “We can do 100% coverage using analytics, instead of having to sample 25%-30% of the population, which means we can do deep dives.”

Diligent Audit also reduces the security and business continuity risks of physical records. “Now they are all centralized in our database, so no more paper,” the Head of Internal Audit remarked.

Finally, Diligent Audit has made the team more agile, whether updating assessments in a timely fashion or delivering vital information quickly. If the system detects a deficiency in audit controls, for example, auditors can easily notify management and get remediation efforts rolling.

What can Diligent Audit do for you? Take the next step in the evaluation process — and in trimming your to-do list. Download the full Forrester TEI Study.  

Stand Out in the C-Suite
Don’t allow your value to be limited by outdated systems or processes. If you’re lagging in technology adoption, now is the time to move forward.
Background image
Related Insights
Kaelyn Barron
Kaelyn Barron, Senior Specialist at Diligent, has expertise in ESG, environmental law and the intersection of governance with these issues. Her background in international relations allows her to provide unique insights into emerging ESG frameworks and regulations that impact multiple regions.