Campbell Soup Talks about Data Analytics and Internal Fraud


In case you missed it, last week the ACFE—the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners—released a video interview with Bethmara Kessler, CFE, Vice President of Corporate Audit at Campbell Soup Company and longtime user of CaseWare IDEA Data Analysis software. Kessler spoke with the ACFE about the skills that are critical for auditors to have in order to be most effective, and also discussed the ways in which data analysis has changed the way we audit.


Key insights from the interview


Ms. Kessler offered an interesting perspective from an industry insider. I thought some key takeaways from her interview—relevant to both seasoned and new auditors alike—included the following:


  1. Conducting a regular audit differs from performing an audit that is proactively searching for indicators of fraud. Whereas in a regular audit of AP, for example, disbursements might be examined to ensure a purchase order was submitted before the associated goods and services were obtained. To search for fraud, however, an auditor would also compare vendor addresses, phone numbers, tax ID numbers, etc. to the company’s employee listing to reveal any matches that may be indicative of fraud.
  2. It’s essential for auditors to be skeptical. Although we may have friendly relationships with people in the organization we’re auditing, to perform our work effectively we must be able to compartmentalize relationships and perceptions of those individuals so that our judgment is not clouded.
  3. Because the audit landscape and technology are rapidly changing, auditors must periodically take stock and re-evaluate how we do our work. The sheer volume of data and transactions today is massive, so we must find the most effective ways of navigating through the data to find anomalies.
  4. Data analysis technology has completely changed the way we audit. Kessler recalls the days of having to rely on samples of data to test things, but with the rise of data analytics she now can’t remember the last time she sampled anything. CaseWare IDEA allows her to analyze 100% of the data she’s examining in every audit engagement. In looking at all of the information rather than just a sample, auditors are more likely to detect fraud.


To hear more from Bethmara Kessler on the ways that data analysis has changed internal audit strategies, you can watch the full interview here. Or if you’d like to learn more about how CaseWare IDEA can help you analyze data to uncover fraud, contact us.



About Bob Cuthbertson:

Bob Cuthbertson brings a wealth of accounting, auditing and technology experience to his role as Chief Operating Officer at CaseWare Analytics. Prior to starting the analytics division of CaseWare in 2000, initially as CaseWare IDEA Inc., Mr. Cuthbertson was Vice President, Professional Services, of The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). Mr. Cuthbertson is also a CPA (Ontario) with a specialty in Information Technology (CITP), granted by AICPA, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University School of Business.

Connect:  Bob Cuthbertson