Big data and analytics are widely predicted to transform the way internal audits are conducted, especially in the areas of risk assessment. For instance, analytics enable the access to the entire database and mining the data to obtain key elements. This allows deeper and more relevant insights, making it easier for them as professionals to focus on the main areas of concern, and to point out the high-risk areas with strong evidence.
By integrating analytics into internal auditing, internal auditors are now expected to deliver more enhanced quality and coverage, as well as provide more business value to their organisation. The managements and stakeholders seek improvements in business analytics and quality of data for better forecasting and decision-making. This actually helps to create more opportunities for internal auditors because they can now perform with greater assurance.
Every day, organizations are introducing creative and innovative ways to use big data. Practical applications of big data can be found in retail, public, private and nonprofit organizations, for example.
Analyzing data to create business value is not a new concept; however, it is becoming increasingly important to interpret data more quickly and base business decisions on the resulting insights. Organizations that effectively acquire and leverage big data are able to capitalize more quickly on emerging business trends, shifts in customer demands, and operational efficiency opportunities. This ultimately enhances the opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and maximize the organization’s success.
As big data programs are implemented and modified over time, internal auditors should remain engaged and monitor these efforts, in accordance with Standard 2010 – Planning and Standard 2030 – Resource Management. In doing so, internal auditors must maintain requisite knowledge and skills, and dynamically alter their risk assessment and audit coverage model to account for any changes (see Standard 1210 – Proficiency).
Big data is evolving rapidly and will continue to present risks and opportunities for organizations and internal auditors for the foreseeable future.
IIA Nigeria Media/IT Coordinator
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