In our Spotlight on Success series, Eric Wilson, Director of Internal Audit and Chief Audit Executive at Gulfport Energy, shares how his team leverages AuditBoard’s connected risk platform to enable effective collaboration between audit team members, co-source resources, and business owners. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Gulfport is an independent natural gas-weighted exploration and production company focused on the exploration, acquisition, and production of natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids (NGL) in the United States with primary focus in the Appalachia and Anadarko basins. Hear how this team achieved their vision of redeploying time spent on SOX toward more value-add operational audit work by streamlining their audit program in AuditBoard, including:
- Leveraging AuditBoard’s SOXHUB and OpsAudit solutions together to centralize all documentation in a single source of truth for real-time insights and reporting for executives and board members.
- Bringing new co-source resources and control owners quickly up to speed with AuditBoard’s robust training resources and intuitive design.
- Reducing SOX and operational audit consulting costs by 20-25% and saving at least one on-staff administrative FTE by streamlining and automating their audit processes.
Tell us a little about Gulfport Energy, and some of the challenges you faced in your previous manual audit environment.
“Gulfport Energy is an oil and gas exploration and production company. We explore for hydrocarbons, drill and extract them, and move them to market. They supply energy through natural gas and crude oil, and get refined into various products that we use on an everyday basis.”
“When I started at Gulfport, I was asked to redesign the internal audit function, and one of the things that we decided we wanted to do was spend at least as much time doing operational audits as we were spending on SOX audits. To focus on that, we needed to change our system and our processes. We went to evaluate audit software and ultimately ended up selecting AuditBoard because it had functions and capabilities that we just didn’t see in other software packages.”
How has AuditBoard’s connected risk platform enabled your team to seamlessly collaborate with internal and external stakeholders — especially third-party consultants?
“Big issues that I needed to be able to deal with were scale — going from small to large and then back down to small depending on the time of year that we were working and the number of contractors and consultants we had coming in. Another thing that I needed to be able to do is get people in and out of the system – internal people through single sign on and external consultants using usernames and passwords. Most of the software systems out there weren’t flexible enough to allow for that, whereas AuditBoard is designed to allow for that functionality, and I can get my third-party consultants in without any issue.”
How has AuditBoard’s intuitive system and training resources enabled you to create a culture of control ownership amongst your business owners?
“I end up working with some individuals who have very technical expertise — petroleum engineers, people who run commodity trading desks — but who don’t necessarily have an audit background. What’s been helpful with AuditBoard is the fact that I can direct them to the AuditBoard Academy for online training where they can learn how to use the system, how workpapers are structured, and other things like that.”
“We’ve gotten to the point now where if control owners who own SOX controls go to perform a control, and something changes or they weren’t able to perform the control the way it’s specifically written in AuditBoard, they’ll go find their control and leave a comment in the control section of AuditBoard. That way, when my consultants come on-site to do our SOX testing, they can look up the history in the comments and know how to work through the documentation they’re going to get. I really didn’t expect that from the business owners, but I think that speaks to the ease of use of the system and the fact that the business owners look at it as a pretty high-value system on their side as well.”
How has centralizing your documentation in a single source of truth enabled you to provide real-time insights to the C-suite and Board?
“A key benefit of AuditBoard for us has been the level of automation, which really streamlined our processes. It’s made things much more effective from my standpoint and from the end users’ and stakeholders’ standpoint. I’m able to very quickly get into the system and answer questions that come to me from the executive team and from the board of directors. In fact, during an Audit Committee call yesterday, and a question came up. I was able to open the system up and get the answer within 10 seconds, versus having to go dig through directories and files and everything else to get what they wanted — AuditBoard has increased the insights that we have and the transparency.”
What kind of ROI have you seen from leveraging AuditBoard to streamline your SOX and audit programs?
“We’ve probably reduced the consulting costs associated with doing our operational audits and our SOX audits by 20 to 25% because of the automation and streamlining that occurs within the system, and not having to have on-staff administrative personnel that’s at least one FTE saved — those right there are easy ROIs that I could point to.”
How are you redeploying the time savings from AuditBoard toward more value-added activities?
“Having AuditBoard in place has given me the ability to look at things from a higher level than I would otherwise because I don’t have to get stuck in the details on a day-to-day basis. I don’t have to track down emails or ask people where their control confirmations are at — the system takes care of all that for me. It gives me the ability to take a broader view of the organization, and also add more value through consulting work and ad hoc projects that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.”