5 Reasons Data Analytics is a “Must Have” Tool

The IIA’s recent Financial Services and Public Sector Knowledge Brief declares data analytics is no longer a “nice to have.” It has become an essential part of the digital transformation, providing executives and stakeholders with deeper insights into risks and opportunities.

Despite the evolution of data analytics from programming-intensive to intuitive, some auditors struggle to integrate these tools into their work and often underutilize the audit team’s full potential. Building a successful, sustainable data analytics program requires top-down buy-in and support. Here are some top considerations to help you establish a business case for data analytics:

Centralized Approach – Organizations are collecting and storing vast amounts of data. In most cases, data is stored in silos or systems that don’t readily “speak” to one another. Data analytics allows you to bring in data from different systems and file types into a single platform to gain a holistic view about what is transpiring across the organization. Caseware IDEA® software offers easy to use analytic capabilities to combine and compare different sets of data including the Relate task, which helps you join, append and compare databases. A centralized approach helps management make decisions based on a single source of truth.




Data Quality Assurance – Data quality is crucial to the validity of your audit work, yet data cleansing and normalization can be time-consuming. Most data analysts spend upwards of 80% of their time preparing the data for analysis. IDEA streamlines this process by providing auditors with 100+ built-in functions that allow you to append files, sort through, format, and link databases with a click of a button. Now you can present results with clean and accurate data – in less time. Learn how to utilize @ Functions here.

Full Population Testing – Beyond the challenges of data acquisition and preparation, most auditors struggle with where to start and which areas to test. With just a few clicks, IDEA’s Discover identifies trends, patterns, and outliers, and creates a dashboard to refine your results further. It saves hours of manual analysis and provides a starting point for audit planning and risk assessments. The Ribbon provides 100+ audit-specific capabilities including Benford’s Law, fuzzy duplicate, gap detection, summarization stratification, sampling and more. The full population testing of 100% of transactions dramatically increases your likelihood of uncovering errors and potential fraud across multiple systems that may go undetected using traditional audit method.



Robust Reports – Auditors are leveraging technology to meet the heightened expectations of their clients, and provide valuable insights about controls performance, compliance and risks. IDEA software provides an interactive audit trail of all actions performed within a Working Folder or project, including the creation, deletion and modification of databases. The Visualize feature within IDEA software allows you to identify and share exceptions, trends and patterns with stakeholders to determine which items require further investigation. Data analytics transforms rows and columns of data into a visual format that can be easily interpreted. Visualization helps executives derive real insights from audit work.



Efficiency & Consistency -Auditors are asked to deliver more – a lot more. Data analytics simplifies process automation by recording and repeating the steps you take to create workflows without programming. Beyond the time-savings benefit, automation allows you to audit more areas with increased regularity and consistency allowing for more better insights in higher risk areas, or in dealing with anomalies and exceptions.



If executives can see the potential of using audit data analysis software, they will support its use in more complex aspects of the business. Ease of use is critical to your long-term success, and IDEA is well known for its intuitive user interface, built-in intelligence and time-saving features. Learn more now.