Embracing Analytics in Auditing
In a digital world, now is the time for internal audit functions to embrace analytics. This is the most significant takeaway from Protiviti’s 2017 Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey, the results of which show that chief audit executives (CAEs) and internal audit professionals increasingly are leveraging analytics in the audit process, as well as for a host of continuous auditing and monitoring activities.
There is growing recognition that an “analogue” approach to auditing is not a tenable long-term strategy for advancing the function into a higher- level role helping the organisation understand and manage risk. Structured data is plentiful in all organisations — CAEs are feeling a responsibility to find the valuable insights, efficiencies and issues buried within. On the positive side, a majority of organisations are employing data analytics in their audit processes in one way or another and see significant value in its use. Yet as we explore in our special section, most are in the early stages of maturity and competency.
Our Notable Findings:
- Data analytics is gaining a foothold in internal auditing — Two out of three departments utilise analytics as part of the audit process.
- Most internal audit shops are still in their “analytics infancy” — A strong majority judge their analytics capabilities to be at the lower end of the maturity spectrum.
- The more mature analytics capabilities are, the greater value they’re perceived to deliver — Organisations with more advanced analytics capabilities in the internal audit department see greater value coming from data analytics.
- Cybersecurity, cloud, mobile tech and big data are top-of-mind — These and other technology-related risks dominate the priority lists for CAEs and internal audit professionals.
- Business and digital transformation is drawing more attention — Not only is this a much higher priority compared to prior years, but its effects are infiltrating most audit plans and activities.