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Are you ready to change the way you audit - Meet ALICE

We only recently launched ALICE globally but during this short time, we have been humbled by the number of requests from companies and individuals to learn more about this platform.

As we look forward to working with assurance teams to drive more efficiency within internal controls, governance, and monitoring functions, I wanted to share five commonly asked questions and our answers to these questions.

#1: Is it just the flavor of the season or do internal audit teams really need to embrace automation technologies? 

The world is changing, faster than ever before. We have updated the way we work, so is it not time we update the way we audit? Technology landscapes have become sophisticated, business threats are ever-evolving, and disruption is inevitable. The need for continuous supervision of business environments has become critical.

Let us first look at today’s internal audit landscape. Businesses today are having to deal with rapidly changing trends whether it is in the form of ever evolving regulatory requirements, cybersecurity and data breach risks, changing technology and digital needs, resource constraints, and access to big data.

Demands on audit functions are ever-increasing to provide more with the same or less human audit effort. Those charged with governance and management oversight responsibilities are requiring more assurance (more coverage, scope and scale) from audit functions delivered in a more intelligent, near real-time, continuous, automated and value-adding manner.

But all of this is not possible without the right technology. Moreover, different stakeholders are expecting different reports and dashboards with internal audit information. Leadership teams want a global view of key risk parameters. The IT manager and CIO want specific information on risk related to digital systems and processes. The finance manager and CFO is looking to gather strategic insights from internal audit data.

The solution does not only lie in automating tasks or activities.  There is a need for a paradigm shift in the way assurance professionals execute on their responsibilities.  This is where a tool like ALICE, empowered with the right cognitive models and the ability to process vast amounts of data holds the key.

 

#2: Ok…I agree with all that need for transformation. We have tried automation in the past but struggled to capture and understand data from many different sources? Isn’t that the first key step to automation? Can ALICE help?

Great question. The key to doing this right requires a two-step process.

For truly end-to-end automation, a high-quality data connector is a must.  The ALICE Connector can take in both structured and unstructured data from screen prints, documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, applications, databases, cloud and IoT devices.

In addition to the ALICE connector, data can also be extracted using APIs, manual uploads, and even RPA bots.

Once the information has been accessed, the next step is data transformation. It is the process of converting data from multiple formats into a usable, consistent, and auditable format. This data can now feed into The ALICE Lab.

 

#3 We’re assuming the real magic happens next. How can all this “big data” be used to drive efficiency and automation of internal audit?

We like that you used the word magic. But, really, it’s a lot of data science and cognitive-based models. ALICE, the Digital Auditor can do her magic in three ways.

  1. Pre-build audit procedures: This works very well in a number of different scenarios and is ideal for processes like IT or cybersecurity audits.  Once the connectors are put in place, no manual feed is needed.  ALICE picks up the relevant data and conducts the test.  Companies have found value by implementing pre-built controls because it creates immediate capacity as well as it allows stakeholders to experience the power of ALICE.
  2. Build your own customized digital procedures: Of course, the platform is designed for custom procedures that audit and risk leaders want to automate.
  3. Convert your existing audit procedures onto ALICE: This is an extension of the above feature. If you already have a procedure or scripts, you can migrate it to ALICE to ensure scale, security and version controls.

In every case, ALICE allows you to carry out these procedures on a scheduled or continuous basis, based on your preference and nature of the control.

 

#4: How do we view “reports” from ALICE?

A Microsoft PowerBI license comes complementary with ALICE alongside a collection of pre-built ALICE reports, dashboards, and standardized working papers.  However, should you desire, the Platform has APIs that can connect seamlessly with a whole range of Automation, BI and GRC Platforms. 

ALICE allows you to generate company level, process level and even control level insights for the range of stakeholders.  It also provides an audit trail of evidence, to review findings, and to analyze results from tests conducted.

 

#5 Don’t want you to feel bad - But can I trust ALICE?

Absolutely.

From day 1, security has been a priority for Team ALICE.  We understand the value of confidentiality and data governance and have taken extreme efforts to ensure ALICE is embedded with leading-edge security protocols. Having a cloud-based software also means that we can constantly improve with security upgrades, ensuring the best-in-class defense systems are in place.

Our security whitepaper has detailed our cybersecurity efforts. To request a copy click here.

The world is changing, faster than ever before. We have updated the way we work, so is it not time we update the way we audit?  Talk to us to see how we can partner with you to kick off and /or accelerate your digital journey.

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