3 Must-Have Features of an Audit Data Analytics Solution in 2020
The world of audit data analytics is exploding with data. There’s too much data to make sense of, yet it is data that must be made sense of in today’s digital world. As data availability expands, the expectations of a modern auditor to use data analytics make sense of that data increase accordingly.
Since the sheer volume of data available these days makes it impossible for one person or a small team to sort through it all, there are a number of audit data analytics solutions available to help auditors comb through piles of data. And while it is easy to identify the essential components of a data analytics solution that is right for your organization, there are some helpful features that aren’t always top of mind when assessing potential vendors.
Today we’re going through the top three benefits that separate a best-in-class audit data analytics solution from a solution that simply checks the boxes.
1. It gives the user the keys with Python
You might have heard of a little thing called Python before. It’s one of the most widely used programming languages and focuses on code readability and an object-oriented approach to help coders write simpler code. If that means nothing to you, that’s okay. All that really matters is it can expand the capabilities of your data analytics solution to allow you to dig much deeper into your data. If you care to learn more, here’s the For Dummies take (literally) on what Python offers.
A best-in-class data analytics solution will feature a Python integration that allows users to greatly expand the solution’s capabilities by leveraging an existing, open-source, freely available library of resources (code written by other programmers) to enable an explosive new set of functionality. Users should be able to easily pull in existing scripts for deeper data analysis or – if they have even a programming background – write their own scripts for custom analysis.
Some of the existing scripts most commonly used in advanced audit data analytics solution include:
- Regression analysis
- AI and Machine Learning functions
Although these functions can provide users with greater audit intelligence, they only scratch the surface of what can be done with the addition of Python capabilities to a core offering.
2. It gets all users on the same page
In the world of auditing, data integrity is key. After all, with compromised data comes increased risk and inaccurate audit findings, and who wants that? When we use a combination of basic audit tools and spreadsheets, we open ourselves up to a variety of issues: duplicate and outdated emailed spreadsheets, manual data entry, and the possibility of the wrong information being entered into the wrong cell in the wrong spreadsheet. Chaos all around.
A great modern data analytics solution will eliminate all that with a centralized and secure sharing platform – a place for sharing and accessing secure files in a centralized location. That last part is key. Everyone works on the same files and with the same databases. Such a system will ensure files accessed within or imported into a data analytics system are in the right location, up-to-date, accessible by all involved parties, and securely visible to each stakeholder. User-based permissions should also provide access to project files across all data sources.
The result is better sharing of information and files between everyone involved in the audit process, and a much higher level of confidence that audit findings are as 100% accurate as they can be.
3. It gives users more control
It is not uncommon to find audit software solutions – or any enterprise management software solution, for that matter – that offers licensing plans that sound great when the solution is implemented but turn out to be a limiting factor as the organization scales up. Let’s say you need to add a user license to allow a new hire to work with the audit team. Well, you can often look forward to a long phone call with support, an expensive subscription plan upgrade, and a bigger subscription package than you need…for one use.
A contemporary solution bypasses this issue with flexible licensing plans that are in step with the evolving nature of today’s business environment, which places a premium on speed and scalability. A licensing model today should be simple and no-fuss – it should let organizations scale audit operations as required.