The Flowers Foods team knew they wanted an audit management platform that would be reliable and easy to use for team members and business stakeholders located throughout the U.S. “We needed a fresh approach. We were looking for a solution that would be easy to use, and that would help us manage our work more efficiently so we could be more productive and effective,” said Highsmith. “Because our previous solution was so unreliable, it was key for us to find a solution we could depend on, and that would give us visibility to the status of a project from the initial audit request all the way through to reporting.” After evaluating a number of potential solution providers, Flowers Foods selected AuditBoard for its real-time status updates, version control, workflow capability, and ability to integrate with control owners across the business.
During implementation, Flowers Foods found that AuditBoard’s user experience and dependability extends beyond the software to the onboarding and customer service teams as well. “I found the AuditBoard implementation team to be solutions-driven and responsive,” said Highsmith. “We were told the upload would be fairly straightforward, but having worked with other project teams in different capacities, I know it doesn’t always work that easily,” Highsmith shared. “It was a pleasant surprise to see the upload process as forthright as it was presented to us.”
The Flowers Foods audit team also appreciated AuditBoard’s flexibility, which enabled AuditBoard to set up the platform to fit the Flowers Foods audit team’s preferred processes. ”AuditBoard delivered a configurable solution with a quick and easy implementation, and we were able to use our existing formats to upload data into the system,” said Highsmith. “We didn’t have to reinvent our process, which was a big win for me.”
Because Flowers Foods works with contract staff to round out its audit department, technology that is easy to learn and adopt is a critical asset. “It’s important to get people up and running quickly in the onboarding process — staff and contractors as well as business owners,” said Highsmith. “AuditBoard has made it incredibly easy to bring people up to speed. We’re able to grant access very quickly, show them how to navigate the system, and they’re immediately ready to get started. We consider that a real positive given the outsource model we have.”
AuditBoard’s intuitive design makes it easy for control owners to access relevant details, understand what they own, and keep the process moving. “AuditBoard simplifies so many things not only for us, but for the business owners. We can easily connect with our business owners when we have a documentation request and track what we get back. It’s been an incredible feature to collaborate with them in the platform on control or process changes versus managing through back and forth email exchanges,” said Highsmith. “We’ve received very positive responses from business owners since implementing AuditBoard — and making the audit experience easier for them is a win in and of itself.”
In today’s environment of geographically-dispersed teams and more people working from home, the ability to work from anywhere in a reliable environment is crucial. “My team is spread out all over the U.S., but with AuditBoard’s cloud-based platform we don’t have to be in the office or inside the network to access documentation” said Highsmith. “AuditBoard makes it much easier to collaborate because we can see information in real time — from anywhere! The fact that we are not always wondering if a particular control has been reviewed has improved our workflow.”
Compared with the dependability and performance issues Flowers Foods experienced with their previous audit management tool, AuditBoard has enabled Flowers Foods to take full control of their SOX and internal audit program. “The biggest challenges we solved with AuditBoard were overall audit management and our inability to access real-time information. We replaced an unreliable tool and labor-intensive, manual process with a solution that has improved version control for our control changes, workpaper reviews, and status updates.”
The team at Flowers Foods has been so satisfied with AuditBoard’s SOX and Internal Audit modules that they are planning to implement RiskOversight, AuditBoard’s risk management module, to realize similar gains in their enterprise risk management program. “The biggest benefit we anticipate with RiskOversight is to stop relying on spreadsheets to monitor and track risks. It will be much more effective and secure to maintain all the risk information and documentation in one central platform. We’re also looking forward to saving time by eliminating the constant need to confirm the most recent version by giving users access to the most current status, rankings, and action plan details in one place,” said Highsmith.
By leveraging AuditBoard, Flowers Foods’s audit team is now positioned to gain greater efficiencies year over year as they manage their SOX controls, internal audits, and risk management using the platform. To learn how you can join hundreds of AuditBoard customers like Flowers Foods in saving time and increasing efficiency for your internal audit function, visit www.auditboard.com.
About Flowers Foods: Headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO) is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the United States with 2019 sales of $4.2 billion. Flowers operates bakeries across the country that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company’s top brands are Nature’s Own, Wonder, Dave’s Killer Bread, Tastykake, and Canyon Bakehouse. Learn more at www.flowersfoods.com.