Internal audit has started the journey toward enabling analytics in audit processes, but there’s a long road ahead. The key findings from Protiviti’s 2017 Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey explain why. In a digital world, now is the time for internal audit functions to embrace analytics. This is the most significant takeaway from this 2017 survey, the results of which show that chief audit executives (CAEs) and internal audit professionals increasingly are leveraging analytics in the audit process, as well as for a host of continuous auditing and monitoring activities.
Key findings regarding data analytics and the audit process include:
- Analytics are gaining a stronger foothold in internal audit functions – A majority employ data analytics as part of the audit process. Not surprisingly, however, most organizations rate their analytics capabilities at the lower end of the maturity spectrum.
- Internal audit departments with dedicated analytics functions see the highest level of value from their analytics, as do those with designated analytics champions.
- As internal audit shops embrace analytics and achieve more progress in how they use data, demand for analytics in the audit process is increasing. This underscores the need for internal audit to mature how it is using analytics and to build processes, people and technology to handle the growing volume and more sophisticated requests.
- Although the overall use and maturity of continuous auditing and monitoring remain relatively low, internal audit functions with more advanced continuous auditing and monitoring capabilities are achieving impressive benefits. These include strengthening risk assessments, more effectively tracking fraud indicators and key operational risk indicators, and enabling a real-time view of organizational risk.