Innovate to Maximize the Value and Influence of the Internal Audit

October 22, 2018

With 25 years of accounting and audit experience, CPA Bradley Carroll has seen not only the rapid pace of innovation, but also the vast amount of data businesses are processing and mining today.

“If you don't keep up with that, you become irrelevant, and part of audit's charge is to add value to the organization,” Carroll says. “If you are not keeping up with the speed of business, you cannot add value. You will lose a seat at the table.”

As chief audit executive at a bank in Atlanta, Carroll led his team in becoming some of the first users of the new Wdesk solution for internal audit management. One reason his team chose to innovate with a brand new solution versus something off the shelf was the flexibility of Wdesk, which made it easier for his team to adopt.

“Wdesk was built around us, rather than us having to adapt to the software,” Carroll said.

Before using Wdesk for internal audit management, the bank used Wdesk for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance but relied on Microsoft® Excel and Word to manage internal audit workpapers. In 2016, the bank started using Wdesk for internal audit documentation, and in 2017, had expanded to more comprehensive management of the internal audit process. The bank provided valuable input to guide the design for Wdesk for internal audit management, and Workiva officially introduced its solution for internal audit management in September 2018.

Wdesk helped Carroll's colleagues speed up reviews by enabling users to link data from one audit to another, as well as link evidence or workpapers for specific audit steps. Instead of duplicate testing for both a wire transfer audit and a Bank Secrecy Act audit, for example, with Wdesk, Carroll's team can link the workpaper for the wire transfer audit to the BSA testing and show where testing has already taken place.

“That has really saved a lot of time. We're not copying workpapers and bringing them over. We're just linking to them, and it feels like they're copied and brought over,” Carroll said.

Audit risk assessments have been moved to Wdesk, and dashboards of key performance indicators (KPIs) help the team to easily see progress toward the annual audit plan versus the budget in real time. As a result, the team gains insights faster.

"I used to compile those quarterly from my audit committee, and it would take two days to pull all the information out of the audits, put it into the graphs, put the graphs onto the PowerPoint®, and get it prepared," Carroll said. His KPI dashboards in Wdesk update automatically. "That saves me two days each quarter."

While Carroll has held on to the fundamentals of old-school auditing, he appreciates the efficiencies of working in the cloud, specifically with Wdesk.

“It is very nice to have,” Carroll said. “Can I audit without it? Yes, I can. Am I going to be as proficient? Am I going to be as efficient? No.”

There are benefits to adopting new technology early. As an early user of new Wdesk solutions, Carroll’s team provided feedback to help Workiva developers refine features.

“I feel like I've been very well respected as a user of the product and saying, ‘This is what it needs.’ I've been heard, and I've seen changes in implementation and updates based on that,” Carroll said.

Read more about Wdesk for internal audit management.

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