Intelligent automation is dramatically changing the way work is done across all functions and can do the same for internal audit. Here is about one example – an automated general ledger reconciliation review:
The bot is designed to validate that the account reconciliation is approved, validate that the balance ties to the general ledger, identify unexplained and reconciling items, and determined that no reconciling items are older than 90 days. The bot interprets input data from the reconciliation engine reading the XLS formatted reconciliation report. The bot is capable of interpreting multiple reconciliation reports simultaneously. The bot ties general ledger data within the XLS in the file. The red text (watch the video) describes potential exceptions and contains notes for the human auditor. The bots send documents and uploads the PDF work paper as the output. This general ledger bot can save as much as 50 to 75 % of the time to complete the test manually and produce reliable work papers while also testing larger sample sizes. And humans only have to follow up on the findings from the bots work.
Leveraging automation can save hundreds or even thousands of hours. The result can be an audit in SOX* departments that are more valuable to their companies and better engaged with business owners. These departments also provide increased assurance and create greater job satisfaction among team members. Supplementing internal audit with process automation is making a real impact. Adding machine learning and natural language processing will further enhance our capabilities and make us even more efficient and effective.
* In 2002, the United States Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to protect shareholders and the general public from accounting errors and fraudulent practices in enterprises, and to improve the accuracy of corporate disclosures. The act sets deadlines for compliance and publishes rules on requirements.