We know from a recent FEI survey on robotic process automation (RPA) that companies are keen to find ways to mitigate errors, reduce expenses and minimize fraud. Implementing RPA for controls assurance can help you do all of that.
Up to 40% of resources are spent on manual processes instead of high-value tasks like improving the quality of findings.
Audit teams are often tasked with providing control assurance as the third (or last) line of defense over a broad array of internal controls. However, many of these tasks are highly administrative in nature, such as obtaining transaction population data, selecting samples for testing, and comparing data attributes to a strict set of business rules requiring little judgment to determine pass/fail status. These activities offer a great example for using automation to add significant value.
Bring in the Bots
The time is ripe for automated solutions to take over mundane audit tasks. By letting robots do the work you can free your people’s time and analytical chops so they can focus on areas requiring more judgment, creativity and dissemination of risk-based insights.
Key benefits of automated control assurance:
Smart automation: Modular, customizable, plug-and-play robots can collect and sample data 24×7, so your team can add more value through better quality findings and investigations.
Confident control: Reduce the risk of human error and fraud—and the penalties that can result—with automated testing that flawlessly samples 100% of the data population with a standardized sampling process and built-in audit trail.
Powerful savings: Drive down operational costs by reducing the hours people spend on time-consuming data-processing tasks and by minimizing travel expenses with remote, cloud-based management.
Automate Controls with a 3-Bot Framework
RPA can support your team in a variety of ways, depending on the work you need bots to handle. For automated control assurance, we suggest a structured approach that uses three bots to allow for maximum customization and configurability.
Broadly speaking, a three-bot framework such as RGP PowerAudit™ has been shown to efficiently:
- Obtain data from a source system using read-only access.
- Select a sample of transactions for further testing or queue an entire population for testing.
- Compare transactions to a set of business rules to determine compliance and flag exceptions.
We like to say that a bot framework like PowerAudit gives audit teams “superhuman” capabilities. Because while the bots are monitoring ongoing tasks 24 hours a day, scanning your entire data population, testing as much of it as you want, and providing exception reports—your auditors are able to home in on data analysis, gathering better insights and improving the quality of findings.
However, it doesn’t make sense to automate just for the sake of automation. We approach PowerAudit implementations using a well thought-out, scaled approach that begins with reviewing and prioritizing your controls to identify the best ones to automate—that is, high-frequency, rules-based controls. We can work with you to identify these controls and create a roadmap for success.