Product Close-Up: Analytic Intelligence
January 12, 2016
Finding your audit’s starting point can sometimes feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. We know because we’ve been there. As auditors ourselves, we used to dread the painful process of spending hours collecting, preparing and analyzing data from hundreds of Excel spreadsheets originating from the finance, human resources, accounting and IT departments. It’s a tedious, confusing process that monopolizes time, resources and energy.
Like you, we knew that there simply had to be an easier way to get this job done. And we were right. In November 2015 we took the pain out of this process with the launch of version 10 of our flagship data analytics software, IDEA. As in all iterations of IDEA, data integrity is protected with read-only access to all files, but we’ve made some exciting improvements that help you find the starting point within that data to complete audits faster and more effectively.
How did we do it?
So what’s new about IDEA 10 that’s going to make your life easier? While there are a variety of new tools and features jam-packed into IDEA 10 that you should definitely check out, the true showstopper is the Discover task. With just a few clicks of your mouse, Discover automatically populates your IDEA Visual Dashboard with charts and field statistics. It’s really that simple to put IDEA to work profiling your data so you can quickly find areas of concern requiring further investigation and get your audit underway.
Discover your data
An extremely powerful data analytics tool, Discover guides you to the areas where you should start your audit when you’re not quite sure where to begin. There’s no need to manually analyze your data or build the dashboard from scratch: Discover does the heavy lifting for you so you can spot the anomalies in your data faster than ever.
But what drives and generates these insights? If you’re not completing the analysis yourself, what exactly is under IDEA’s hood to power the Discover feature? The answer: Analytic Intelligence.
Your data analytics engine
CaseWare Analytics’ proprietary intelligence, Analytic Intelligence is the engine powering Discover so it can reveal insights quickly and easily. Built on a series of pre-written algorithms designed to identify data types and perform analytics, it is IDEA’s Analytic Intelligence that searches for and reveals areas of interest in your data.
To be more precise, the power of Analytic Intelligence automatically identifies the primary transaction amount field, the primary transaction date field and any category fields. It then analyzes the data within each field, looking at its properties to determine the importance of that field. Once the fields have been identified, IDEA performs common analyses on them, such as IQR and standard deviation, to search for any outliers. Those outliers are deemed to be higher priority and are therefore displayed to you first. This automatically defines for you the best stats and fields to use and displays the most relevant graphic that will help you find the insights in your data.
As auditors, we were at first skeptical of trusting an automated system to tell us about our data. With this in mind, we paid special attention to identifying the correct fields and took extra time to run the full onslaught of tests on databases we know well to ensure the proposed analysis was always what we would expect it to be.
Software that thinks like an auditor
Analytic Intelligence is based on our extensive research, which prompted us to add more intelligence that leads to the most accurate and relevant findings. We also consulted with IDEA users, distributors and our partners who let us know exactly what they wanted the Discover task to do for them. After putting together some test algorithms, fine-tuning them, and having current IDEA users participate in a beta test, Analytic Intelligence was ready. Now Discover utilizes our Analytic Intelligence to reveal deeper insights automatically so you are better prepared to attack your audit in a more focused and strategic way. To further benefit you, once Analytic Intelligence has done its work, you can then customize this proposed analysis using the new Visualize task, which lets you custom-build your dashboard of insights.
Eventually we’ll be taking Analytic Intelligence even further, adding more details in the fields in future iterations of IDEA, including identifying sequences and automatically finding gaps and duplicates. The benefit? You’ll be able to tailor IDEA’s Analytic Intelligence specifically to the area you’re auditing. Stay tuned to see what the next versions of IDEA bring for Analytic Intelligence!
Interested in seeing Analytic Intelligence in action? Send us an email.