PetSmart’s Internal Audit Team Saves 1,400+ Hours Annually

PetSmart’s Internal Audit Team Saves 1,400+ Hours Annually

In our Spotlight on Success Series, Ben Phillips (VP of Internal Audit), Stephanie Lopez (Director of Corporate Internal Audit), and Laura Wine (Financial and Operational Internal Audit Manager) at PetSmart share how they leverage AuditBoard’s connected risk platform to centralize their Audit, SOX and ERM programs and broaden their audit scope.

PetSmart had three primary goals when considering how to take their program to the next level using audit, risk, and compliance technology:

  1. Optimize team efficiencies through automation, collaboration, and visualization to focus on emerging risk areas.
  2. Create easy-to-use processes that stakeholders adopt to improve the quantity and quality of input.
  3. Develop a trusted, holistic view of company risk to enable real-time decision making.

Download the PetSmart case study, read the highlights, and watch the 2021 success story video to get the full story!

Elevated Audit for Strategic Impact

PetSmart’s audit transformation with AuditBoard helped them realize a 577% ROI on their 3-year investment with AuditBoard. AuditBoard’s connected risk platform enabled PetSmart to eliminate audit redundancies with purpose-built workflows, enhance Audit’s image as trusted business partners with a modern interface and place-of-work integrations, and develop a common risk language with connected views and teams. 

Expanded Assurance Over Emerging Risk

PetSmart centralized and streamlined its audit and control programs through intuitive purpose-built workflows and automation of repetitive tasks like PBC requests, issues management, and action item reminders. With increased capacity, they expanded to more operational audits and strategic management requests such as a high-profile supply chain distribution project and an inventory replenishment optimization initiative, leading to a cost avoidance of at least $250K.

“The key now is that management comes to us with special project requests. Our freed-up time has allowed us to engage on projects that enhance our operations and support strategic initiatives.”

Ben Phillips, VP of Internal Audit

Bolstered Stakeholder Engagement and Trust

PetSmart aimed to increase stakeholder engagement and enhance feedback quality to help their audit team prioritize risks effectively. AuditBoard enabled PetSmart to integrate their control owners into the platform seamlessly, cast a wider net through intuitive surveys, and enhance information collection, expanding ERM and Audit risk assessment reach from 65 leaders to 193 leaders and enhancing the quality of assessment results.

“AuditBoard reduced the barriers. Now we’re seen as the people they trust to get the right information and viewed as trusted business partners.”

Stephanie Lopez, Director of Corporate Internal Audit

Integrated Audit and Risk Efforts

Recognizing an opportunity, PetSmart aimed to establish a more robust network between audit and risk functions, shifting from reactive to proactive communication and alignment. AuditBoard’s connected risk platform brings all three teams together, unifying their risk language, providing transparency into risk assessments, and fostering open communication, helping to uncover emerging risks sooner.

“Having Audit, SOX, and ERM in one platform allowed us to see where there was overlap and gaps between different risk universes, providing better risk coverage to the business.”

Laura Wine, Financial and Operational Internal Audit Manager

Why AuditBoard?

AuditBoard’s connected risk platform helps teams like PetSmart build a connected risk culture and focus on managing strategic business risk by:

  • Increasing Efficiency – Streamline SOX, Audit and ERM processes via purpose-built workflows, centralized data, and real-time reports.
  • Strengthening Collaboration –  Weave the audit process into business owners typical activities through modern, easy-to-use interfaces and place-of-work integrations.
  • Connecting Risk Management –  Unify SOX, Audit, and ERM teams by breaking down communication and information barriers.

Download the full PetSmart case study below, and read on for the 2021 video success story featuring Ben Phillips.

2021 PetSmart Success Story

Ben Phillips, Vice President of Internal Audit at PetSmart, shares how AuditBoard has helped him and his team reduce administrative tasks and focus more attention on addressing the changing needs of their business.

Ben Phillips, Vice President of Internal Audit at PetSmart shares how AuditBoard helped his team redeploy saved time to drive value to the organization.

How would you describe the PetSmart philosophy?

At PetSmart we love pets and we believe that pets make us better people. Every day, with every connection, our passionate associates help bring pets and their pet parents closer so they can live more fulfilled lives.

Tell us a bit about the makeup and activities of your team. 

Our typical year is divided between Sarbanes-Oxley controls testing, operational auditing, store auditing, and other consulting engagements that are requested by management throughout the year based on the skills and abilities my team brings to the company. It’s not uncommon, particularly this year, for our audit plan to evolve throughout the year based on the changing business environment and needs. And we’re always looking to re-align our activities with the changing risk profile of the company and the needs of our business. We want to ensure that any project we undertake drives value to the organization and to everyone involved. 

What challenges did you face before you implemented AuditBoard?

When I think about how we evaluated different solutions for audit technology, it brings me back to the beginning of my journey at PetSmart. I joined the company in 2014 and at that time the use of technology in internal audit was extremely limited. Before AuditBoard, our associates were spending an inordinate amount of time doing administrative tasks and were not being utilized to their full potential as auditors. So I knew we were missing opportunities, and they knew we were missing opportunities to really develop our practice and to develop their professional skills. 

What led you to lean toward AuditBoard over other options?

We have a relatively small team, so any solutions that come with significant administrative burdens and a lot of non-value-added work is basically a complete non-starter for us. We watched the AuditBoard demo, we talked to some of the team members, and it was clear how easy it was going to be for our staff to use this solution. It was also evident that on the administrative side, the system was really user-friendly. Little tasks like adding permissions to different elements, modifying the layouts, building reports — we found them to be incredibly efficient using the AuditBoard solution compared to others. 

How was the reception of AuditBoard by your control owners?

Our stakeholders have really embraced AuditBoard. They appreciate how easy it is to use the system — that’s the most common feedback we get from both the internal audit team and other business users that access the system for different reasons. This is because of how easy and intuitive it is to use. Notifications is one example that comes to mind. We send out our SOX control certifications using WorkStream and after the first round of testing in the first year we implemented, we got a lot of feedback from control owners that they were getting too many emails, especially the ones that had many controls. It didn’t take long for our team to look through AuditBoard settings and figure out how to change notifications to weekly digests and the control owners were impressed and pleased with how easily we were able to provide a solution for that small issue within one day. 

What other changes or benefits have you experienced?

Overall, our organizational transparency has been advanced. Being able to see where the audit plan is, where each audit project is in its life, and where individual associates and their work are progressing has been a key to fostering better communication and collaboration, both across the internal audit team and the different teams within our department, and also with management as we work with them.

Another game-changing factor is the ability for our associates to work anywhere in the world using AuditBoard. They can partner on steps if they’re not in the same location, they can share work papers using AuditBoard, reviews can happen while one team member is traveling, and there are no chains tying us to the office for this work. I can tell you this has been essential to our work efforts during COVID-19.