In our Spotlight on Success series, Liz Folsom, Vice President of Global Internal Audit and Investigation at Population Services International (PSI), discusses how transitioning from a manual environment to a previous software solution didn’t fix version control issues, but finally implementing AuditBoard’s connected risk management platform provided real-time visibility into status and significantly improved data-driven decision-making for the business. Hear how internal audit at PSI — an NGO with a global footprint — implemented combined assurance and provides timely information to a fast-moving organization, including:
- Leveraging OpsAudit to reduce their time to issue audit reports by 45% in 12 months — and tracking for a further 30% reduction.
- Empowering stakeholders to make better-informed decisions by creating customized dashboards with relevant, real-time data.
- Increasing management action plan implementation by 32% due to the accessibility of information.
Tell us a little about Population Services International and your team.
“PSI is an international non-profit governmental organization — or NGO — in the public health field. PSI works in about 50 countries, and our mission is to make it easier for people to lead healthier lives and plan the families they desire.
I’m based in Washington, DC and oversee a team of 34 internal auditors at the global and local level. Our team is responsible for providing independent assurance in all of these locations regarding operations and the grants and program implementations. I’ve been with PSI for eight years, and when I came in we were a team of six. We’ve grown to provide more impact and oversight, and have scaled the team to deliver more timely results.”
What were some of your challenges in a manual environment before implementing AuditBoard?
“When I joined the organization, we were exclusively manual and everything was done in Excel and Word, with some shared folders. We did implement a previous audit software solution, but there were a lot of pain points. Staff continued to work outside the software and attach documents — sometimes weeks after they were due. Audit reports were late and there was little visibility into field work. We had issues with timeliness of follow-up. Information was wrong in the system, or the update was outdated.”
What led you to select AuditBoard as a solution?
“Three reasons. First, I needed software to be easy and intuitive, so staff that had never worked with automated software before would instantly understand it.
Second, I wanted to move towards combined assurance — so the product could be used by the internal audit department, but we’re also using it for capturing investigative results where there are recommendations to improve controls, and we’re using it as a second line of defense for our Security and Finance Departments.
The third reason was ease of reporting and information sharing. AuditBoard is user-friendly with built-in graphs and charts, so we didn’t have to recreate the wheel. We gave OpsAudit access to our executive team, and they can review customized dashboards that update in real time whenever they want.”
How has the executive team been able to leverage real-time data in AuditBoard for improved decision-making?
“Our executive team is very happy. We’ve customized AuditBoard dashboards for Vice Presidents over different regions and country portfolios so they don’t have to sift through information to see what they are interested in.”
“We’ve also built dashboards that show progress against the audit plan, so folks can go in at any time to see what’s coming up. Most importantly, we’ve built dashboards of management action plan implementations, so that any director can check and see how it’s progressing and what might be overdue. People feel better equipped to make decisions, including real-time decisions staff make when traveling to countries at the last minute.”
What measurable ROI have you seen since implementing AuditBoard?
“Between 2020 and 2021, we reduced our time to issue audit reports by 45%. We’re on track now to reduce it another 30%.”
“The implementation of management action plans increased from 65% in 2020 to 86% today. That is directly attributed to the accessibility of information in AuditBoard. People access the system for updates and real-time reports, and see where pressure may need to be applied to help people get across the finish line.”
Tell us about some of your team’s wins since implementing AuditBoard.
“The PSI values are measurement, pragmatism, honesty, collaboration, trust, and commitment — and internal audit mirrors those, so we measure everything and are very pragmatic about finding the best course of action to get to a solution. AuditBoard allowed me to really deliver on promises I made in 2020.”
“I made some amazing gains taking on responsibility for the local audit function — moving forward with combined assurance goals, expanding our focus on risk management throughout the organization, and providing more insights to client management on audit results and implementation status. We’re providing the business with timely and accurate information for decision-making. AuditBoard has made my department look better — it’s been a win-win all around.”