Campbell Soup Vice President of Corporate Audit Bethmara Kessler, CFE – an avid user of the IDEA Data Analysis software – spoke with ACFE, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, last month about the skills necessary for auditors to have in order to be at their most effective, and also the ways in which data analysis has, changed and will continue to change, the way we audit and protect against fraud.
As an industry insider Ms. Kessler is able to offer an interesting perspective – some of the key points from her interview include the following:
- Conducting regular scheduled audits differs from performing an audit that is proactively searching for indicators of fraud. Whereas in a regular audit of AP, for example, disbursements might be examined to ensure a purchase order was submitted before the associated goods and services were obtained. To search for fraud, however, an auditor would also compare vendor addresses, phone numbers, tax ID numbers, etc. to the company’s employee listing to reveal any matches that may be indicative of fraud.
- It’s essential for auditors to be skeptical. Although we may have friendly relationships with people in the organization we’re auditing, to perform our work effectively we must be able to compartmentalize relationships and perceptions of those individuals so that our judgment is not clouded.
- Because the audit landscape and technology are rapidly changing, auditors must periodically take stock and re-evaluate how we do our work. The sheer volume of data and transactions today is massive, so we must find the most effective ways of navigating through the data to find anomalies.
- Data Analysis technology has completely changed the way we audit. Kessler recalls the days of having to rely on samples of data to test things, but with the rise of data analytics she now can’t remember the last time she sampled anything. CaseWare IDEA allows her to analyze 100% of the data she’s examining in every audit engagement. In looking at all of the information rather than just a sample, auditors are more likely to detect fraud.
You can watch the full interview here.