What’s New in IDEA 10.3

The newest release of IDEA is here! Here’s some details on what’s new and exciting about IDEA 10.3—and why you should upgrade now to save time, gain deeper insights and make your audits more efficient than ever.

Character Field Statistics

Field statistics have always been powerful in IDEA and can calculate more than 100 commonly requested statistics, and version 10.3 now includes Character Field Statistics. This includes Net Value for numerics, Sunday transactions for date fields, and afternoon sales for time fields—all available with just a click. This improved functionality unlocks additional value in character fields so that auditors can break character fields down into categories and identify columns with blank values. You can instantly access new insights without having to write queries or summarize/sort data.




Clicking on the counts provides drill-down capability, and results can be saved as exception databases to be used as audit findings. This saves a great deal of time, especially when dealing with large files.


Visualization Upgrades

IDEA’s already powerful Visualization feature—which allows you to identify exceptions quickly by seeing trends and patterns in data via dashboards—has been upgraded. Duplicate Key detection has been added, giving auditors the ability to design dashboards that identify counts of duplicate invoice numbers or duplicate check numbers, and then to drill down further as needed.


IDEA also has a unique feature called Discover that automatically creates a custom dashboard with just one click. Dashboards are built using audit intelligence, and help best identify database exceptions graphically. With IDEA 10.3, Discover now has the ability to detect Duplicate Key situations across all fields, and automatically populate the first field into the dashboard. This allows users to identify anomalies without having to run multiple duplicate key detection tasks. Using IDEA’s Visualization feature, you can then easily explore other duplicate keys beyond the first field.


Improved Indexing Performance

IDEA’s processing engine has been upgraded, reducing processing time in many cases depending on file size, data structure, the nature of data and the hardware being used.


Testing done on a 3.9 GB file, summarization of a character field, performed for both IDEA 10.2 vs 10.3. Actual results may vary based on the configuration of the computer and the nature of the database.


Stratified Random Sampling update

Stratified Random Sampling is unique to IDEA and lets users take a more informed audit sample that balances materiality with impartiality. This feature saves time during the sampling process because it allows auditors to break transactions down into strata before selecting the sample, ensuring the sample is truly representative of the entire population, considers materiality requirements, and remains impartially selected. In IDEA 10.3, auditors can specify the percentage of records within each strata, making the process more effective when populations and file sizes vary greatly from month to month.


Stratified Random GIF.gif


Python integration

To enhance the use of IDEA with advanced analytics, the desktop version of IDEA 10.3 includes a Python interpreter and key packages to let users leverage the power of this tool, with no separate installations needed. Users can extend the functionality of IDEA by building their own advanced analytic or using existing Python scripts.


Python at Command GIF.gif


Python can also be used in virtual fields via the new @Python function. If you want to augment IDEA with a special math operation available in Python, you can simply call this function using the @Python command.* Users can continue using IDEA’s easy-to-use interface, while also being able to leverage the vast library of powerful advanced math functions available in Python.

*A working Python script with this name must exist in the Custom Functions project subfolder


New IDEAScript Commands and @commands

IDEAScripts have been expanded, new functions have been introduced, and @commands have been enhanced to allow the automation of many features. Some of the new IDEAScripts include:

  • RunPython – Belonging to the Client object, this script lets IDEAScript call the Python script of your choice, after which it resumes processing in IDEAScript

  • StratifyOnBandWithPercent – Similar to StratifyOnBand, this command lets IDEAScript specify the percentage of records to extract for each stratum

  • NumCategories – A new method for the FieldStats object that reports the number of unique categories for a given character field

  • NumBlanks – This new script lets the FieldStats object report the number of cells with blanks for a given character field


About Alain Soublière:

Alain Soublière has many years of experience working with computer audit software. He worked in a senior management role as the IDEA Product Manager for many years before becoming Director of Product strategy for CaseWare Analytics and more recently the Chief Product Strategist.

Connect:    Alain Soublière