Auditor Spotlight: Erin Baker
CaseWare Analytics recently met Erin Baker, Data Analytics Program Manager for the University of Texas System Audit Office, and discussed her thoughts on data analytics. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
Q: How much of a role does data analytics play in your position at the System?
A: First, in terms of structure, the UT System consists of eight academic and six health institutions, as well as a System Administration component. For this reason, the data analytics activities that my team and I undertake are quite large and extremely varied!
Our activities include everything from assisting other audit departments on how to use data analytics in upcoming audits, to performing data analysis in specific areas of a project and then delivering those results for further investigation. We also develop customized analysis tools and scripts, and act as consultants by providing guidance on how other teams can grow their use of data analytics.
Q: What do you most enjoy about teaching others how to use data analytics software?
A: I find it satisfying to see my students get excited about CaseWare IDEA’s capabilities and how it can benefit them. Recently I trained a department that was struggling to compare two data sets with more than 300 different numeric fields from two different years. Their electronic reports indicated that there was an anomaly, but the description of the issue was extremely generic and diagnosing the source of the problem was complicated and time consuming.
With just a few clicks in IDEA, we were able to quickly identify all the anomalies and reduce the time needed to complete the project from days to hours—or even minutes. It was the coolest thing to watch as the auditors I was training began to realize the impact that IDEA could have on this and other projects!
Q: What advice do you give to anyone who is considering a data analytics tool?
A: Have realistic expectations! Even though IDEA is very easy to use, you have to take the time to learn how to use the software. You also have tounderstand the meaning of your data and be able to look at it in different ways. You rarely receive your data in a format that works for you, so be prepared to convert the data into a more usable format.
Start with some simple analysis to get a few ‘easy wins’ and learn about the tool’s capabilities. But don’t limit yourself! As you get more comfortable with the software, you will discover many things about what the data is saying to you.
To learn more about how IDEA Data Analysis software can improve your audits, visit us.
About Anu Sood:
Anu Sood is the Director of Product and Corporate Marketing at CaseWare Analytics and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy. Prior to CaseWare Analytics, Anu worked in various roles in the high-tech industry and her accomplishments range from writing software for telephone switches to launching a new global satellite communication service. Anu has extensive experience in strategic marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, content marketing, product management, product marketing and technology development.
Connect: Anu Sood