Auditor Spotlight: Fred Lyons

With 30 years of experience as a Senior Computer Audit Specialist at D’Arcangelo & Co. LLP, an audit and consulting firm in New York State, Fred Lyons is an expert in the audit field. Here’s what he shared with CaseWare Analytics during a recent interview:


Q: What is the most important process an audit team needs in order to be successful?


A: I think it’s most important to establish a repeatable audit routine. Consistently applying the same techniques over and over again makes each audit more efficient and thorough.


Q: What are some key strategies your team follows?


A: The first is to always ensure that the data is complete and accurate. If the data is wrong, your conclusions will be wrong. When you receive a data file, validate it by looking at the control totals, date cut-offs, etc. You can also use the Field Statistics feature in a data analysis tool. Validating the data file is a habit you have to get into and that all new auditors need to adopt.


I also think it’s important to not be tempted to only drill down into data where you expect to see results. Look at the data holistically so you can understand it and maybe find something unexpected. If we only chase our expectations, we won’t find anything unusual.


Q: Can you give an example of a time you found something unexpected in the data?


A: Definitely. When we first started learning how to use IDEA, we found a $10 million difference between the total printed on the report and the data supporting it. That was just the tip of the iceberg! The finding prompted an investigation which later uncovered a fraud scheme. Discovering the unmatched data was key to exposing the fraud.


Q: Why do you use data analysis software?


A: Data analysis tools offer the repeatable audit routines that help create efficiencies. IDEA is logically structured, easy to learn and it widens our coverage because we can analyze the entire data population.


Another reason we use data analysis software is that it makes it easy for us to test and adjust our hypotheses when developing an audit routine.  The fact that the source data is not altered is essential for us.


Q: Would you recommend IDEA?


A: Absolutely. It lets us quickly analyze 100% of our data using repeatable procedures. It’s also advanced enough to provide what I call a ‘one-click’ solution to an audit: with just one click it creates a dashboard populated with charts and field statistics that make it easy to see where the outliers are in the data. Generating a result with just a couple of clicks is awesome.


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. 

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