Internal Audit

Working Smarter, Not Harder: Using Collaboration Technology for Internal Audit

Karalee Britt, Steve Coppolino|
Working Smarter, Not Harder: Using Collaboration Technology for Internal Audit

Today’s digital audit is unique in its processes. Once-manual tasks that relied on hard files and face-to-face contact have now migrated to automated, cloud-based solutions.

Collaboration tools in particular have empowered organizations of every size to remain agile to:

  • New technology.
  • New workplace environments (remote, hybrid, etc.).
  • New analytical insights.

With the market for online collaboration software expected to reach nearly $14 billion by 2024, is your internal audit team appropriately leveraging the tools at your disposal? 

This article will explore the benefits of cloud collaboration during the audit process – and for a deeper dive into how to prepare internal audit teams for 2022, register for our related webinar, “Working Smarter, Not Harder: Digital Auditing in Action,” taking place on November 4, 2021.

Cloud Collaboration in the Audit Universe

There’s no shortage of cloud-enabled software that can create efficiencies at key stages of the audit process. And tools can be deployed that facilitate the full scope of the audit lifecycle, from assessing risk, planning and executing audits, reviewing results, and briefing audit committees.

Consider these key functions that are critical while preparing for and performing an audit:

  • Document management and file-sharing.
  • Data centralization and establishing a single source of truth. 
  • Project management and issue management.
  • Brainstorming and strategizing.
  • Team communication and engagement. 

Slack, Jira, Box, Zoom, Alteryx, and dozens of other options on the market serve a vital role in your audit tech stack. 

By improving the audit experience and enhancing the speed at which stakeholders can collaborate in distributed settings, collaboration tools are now table stakes for 2022 and beyond — if they aren’t already.

Developing Cloud-First Systems

Accelerated, of course, by the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of digital tools can be a stark dividing line between organizations built for the future and those clinging to legacy systems. Audit teams that were quick to integrate new cloud solutions early in the pandemic have had a longer lead time to further optimize controls and processes for:

Going digital also enables tactical advantages from a workflow and resource perspective. The combination of people and software programs can allow for 24/7 access to and completion of documentation despite collaborators being farther apart.

As such, cloud collaboration dovetails completely with:

  • Remote work.
  • Enhanced, real-time knowledge-sharing.
  • Simplification of repetitive tasks.
  • Greater responsiveness to document revisions and additions.
  • Faster, automated reporting.
  • Continuous monitoring.

As more tools are onboarded, many internal auditors have found that they require greater access to other business systems and organizational data sets. Collaboration tools can thus provide more audit improvement opportunities on top of better communication. For instance, once granted access to other business systems, data from one can be added to parallel data sets for great risk analysis. And coordinating collaboration efforts across numerous business units can:

  • Mitigate previously undiscoverable risk.
  • Decrease stakeholder frustration (think document requests!).
  • Enable informed decision-making.
  • Identify emerging trends.

In total, by leveraging collaboration technology, your internal audits can be maximized for even greater impact.

Wondering if your audit team can benefit from digitization? Register for our related webinar, “Working Smarter, Not Harder: Digital Auditing in Action,” taking place on November 4, 2021.

Karalee Britt

Kara is a Partner in CrossCountry Consulting’s Risk and Compliance practice, overseeing and directing outsourced and co-sourced internal audit engagements as well as regulatory compliance programs, including Sarbanes-Oxley. Kara partners with her teams and clients to maximize the use of technology in the control environment to measure risk and focus risk management effort.

Steve Coppolino

Steve is a Director in CrossCountry Consulting’s Risk and Compliance practice with more than 17 years of experience leading Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, internal & external audit, audit readiness support, financial management, and innovation efforts. Steve is also focused on improving business processes controls using technology to maximize team efficiency and effectiveness.

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