IDEA 11.2 Refinements and Enhancements Make Life Easier for Auditors

We recently released IDEA 11.2, which brings additional functionalities and a new look and feel. Our design experts make every effort to ensure IDEA is more intuitive and as easy as possible to navigate. 


This release adds more features for comprehensive reporting, smart audit apps for high-quality audits, more powerful plugins, and enhancements to ad-hoc analytic functions and imports.


Let’s go through some of the updates and changes:


Publish Functionality


Auditors need the ability to share findings from their data analysis that illustrate a potential control breakdown or other problem. These findings should provide both the underlying data and an explanation describing the breakdown.


In many internal audit situations where IDEA is involved, auditors need to share potential findings with their team leads (who generally have IDEA installed) and internal clients (who often do not). As a result, sending an email with an IMD database is not an option, since the client cannot read the format. And even if they did have IDEA installed, it might not be clear what data they are looking at or what it means from a control perspective.


The purpose and end result of an audit is the Audit Report, which is made up of audit findings. The “publish” functionality output will help auditors write the audit report by providing easy access to findings and source data in a readable format, and also provide them with the option to include the database comments as well as the history. They can then share it easily with their clients. 


In order to push the IDEA observations to an internal client or forward IDEA databases for audit management review and QA, we have added the functionality to configure an SMTP Server in IDEA. You can either use pre-defined SMTP settings for gmail, outlook etc. or you can add your own custom SMTP configuration provided by your organization. 


Updated UI


With the IDEA software evolving over the years, there was a need to have a more modern UI that would make IDEA more accessible and easier to use. 


As part of a larger move to simplify the user experience, we have rebranded IDEA to follow a more user-friendly approach. We have started updating the UI to make it more consistent with Industry standards and conform to the accessibility requirements.


Selection criteria for multiple values within a column field


Auditors frequently explore transactions by filtering transactions, and there are many ways to do this in IDEA. Character Field Statistics lets an auditor interactively explore deeper in the data via multiple levels of drill downs. Key Value Extractions are another way. But the most common method of filtering data is the so-called “click and pick” method which uses the “Select all records containing” context menu in the data grid. 


However, there is a limitation to “click and pick”, in that there is no way of including more than one distinct value from the same column without having to write a custom formula. Worse still, if the selected values contain long strings, these would have to manually entered precisely or the query will fail.


IDEA 11.2 introduces a clever new way of extending the concept of “click and pick” by letting the user select more than one cell in the same column by holding CTRL or SHIFT keys and automatically building the query formula necessary to build a combined query of multiple values at the same time. This enhanced filtering will continue to work in combination with previous “click and pick” filtering, which lets the user create very sophisticated filters with nothing more than a few clicks – and no scripting.


Utilities – Latest SmartAnalyzer App


We have introduced a new SmartAnalyzer application that currently consists of 14 utilities (with more to be added in the future). Many of these utilities have been requested by and created for auditors to enhance the auditing experience (e.g., the ability to export multiple databases, create a list of dates to match on, etc.). This package enhances the IDEA user experience.


IDEA Lab Plugins


We’ve provided new IDEA Lab plugins as follows:


Get Next Get Previous: This plugin lets you extract x number of transactions before or after a specific transaction type that is based on a specified criteria. For example, you can review transactions that occurred just before or just after a Void was entered into your Point-Of-Sale system. You can set the criteria to include all Void transactions and specify the number of records before or after the Void transactions to extract. The plugin extracts all previous and next transactions that meet the criteria.


Unique Records: This add-on to the Duplicate Key Detection task looks for duplicate records and records without duplicates. The Unique Records plugin looks for unique values, based on an index, within the file. You must select the unique values (keys) and then select any additional fields to include in the output. The plugin returns a file that contains one unique record based on the unique values.


Text Analysis: The Text Analysis plugin performs analysis on the text of a report (PDF, DOC, DOCX, and TXT files only). The results of the analysis are shown in three IDEA databases. The plugin automatically creates sentiment analysis and word frequency bar charts and also creates a word cloud. To use this plugin, you must ensure Java 7 or higher is installed.


Utilities Package: This is a SmartAnalyzer application that currently consists of 14 utilities (with more to be added in the future). Many of these utilities have been requested by and created for auditors to enhance the auditing experience (e.g., the ability to export multiple databases, create a list of dates to match on, etc.) This package enhances the IDEA user experience.


Duplicate Key Exclusion Enhancements


The Duplicate Key Exclusion task identifies duplicate records in a database, but only where a further specified field is different, such as duplicate supplier numbers for different suppliers. This task will only output the first record that relates to the unique duplicate exclusion key. The output of the Duplication Key Exclusion previously listed the combinations identified by the tasks. The expectation from users was the output should list all the records and not only list the different combinations found in the database.


Duplicate Key Exclusion is now enhanced to output all records that are related to a unique duplicate key exclusion key. This will allow the user to view all records that relate to this request, previously the user would have had to perform a join to obtain these records.


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