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5 Ways RPA Can Influence Internal Auditing
RPA can help increase productivity through internal audits, expand risk coverage, and help address the ongoing burden of compliance.
FERMONT, CA: The age of automation is here, with opportunities to integrate advanced technologies into the functions of Internal Audit (IA). By expanding the use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), IA departments, large and small, have already begun their journey into the world of automation. RPA solution can help automate the most repetitive tasks to make life easier and more efficient without the vulnerability of the data. RPA involves a bot or software application that can be programmed to perform basic human tasks. The main advantage of embedding bots in any work environment is that a bot can take care of repetitive manual tasks, freeing up time for more value-added activities for employees. Is there a need to generate a quick report for an audit? An RPA solution can automatically provide the information without the need for any private data to be found. IA can play a role in helping organizations find gaps within business processes and functions to improve audit automation management activities. Below are the fields where the significant effect of RPA can be accomplished.
Standardizing Data for Custom Analytics
An RPA Center of Expertise (CoE) can derive and standardize data for custom analytics, pulling data for internal and external auditors to use, including automation checks for field completeness, duplicates, and validation, etc. This frees IA from coordinating and collecting the data over time.
Annual Risk Assessment Process
Bots can help simplify the initial collection and identification of data for the annual risk assessment process. Tasks that can be done by robots through RPA include digital/electronic data manipulation, standardized inputs and formats, and rule-based processes. In the internal audit process, there are many of these types of activities. Following the completion of the annual audit plan, a bot could set up and fill each audit with appropriate checklists and templates to eliminate the need for manual set-up. Bots were able to handle a variety of tasks during audits, such as automatically creating workpaper attachments and filling out standardized templates and workpaper headings, simplifying cross-references and issues, and reporting.
A bot enables internal audit professionals to gain more organizational coverage (more data, transactions, etc.) while not increasing the time or FTE needed to analyze large data populations. This also reduces the equation's audit luck, and lets auditors get closer to utter certainty. RPA enables teams to identify data/transaction anomalies and focus on outliers.
Time and Cost Savings
RPA greatly benefits internal audit teams, which regularly collaborate and communicate with the company and external auditors. Audit automation makes it possible for IA to pivot from supporting external audit activities, such as pulling evidence and collecting samples to focus on operational business reviews.
There are many opportunities to leverage smart automation to monitor controls, compliance with regulations, policies, and reporting activities. It is up to IA to decide whether this is a process worthwhile to undertake-then seeks to identify risks associated with smart audit automation initiatives and work to develop and roll out an RPA plan to ensure proper governance, controls, and monitoring is in place. The introduction of technologies such as RPA would, therefore, offer significant advantages.