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Learn At Lunch: Building a Data Analytics Programme & Incorporating it in Corporate Governance

In this data driven age, data analytics is becoming a necessity. It is imperative that Internal Audit integrates data analytics into its audit processes to keep pace with the competitive and disruptive business environment. “Analytics brings benefits. Data harnessed by analytics delivers better and faster decisions, which in turn leads to better business processes and customer interactions. When data analytics is properly developed, it helps Internal Audit value add by providing business insights and improving business performance. In doing so, Internal Audit provides more holistic assurance to the Board,” said Mr Derrick Lim, Divisional Vice President of Internal Audit, Singapore Airlines Limited. About 50 Internal Audit professionals attended a Learn At Lunch talk on 8 February 2018 to learn how to turn data into insights.

The typical stages of analytics are descriptive, prescriptive and predictive. Data analytics can add depth to controls review and testing of transactions. For example, when reviewing large data sets of expense transactions, internal auditors test for items such as transactions posted at unusual times or dates or with similar information sets, implying duplicate transactions. These processes that would otherwise take days to test manually can be performed in minutes using an analytics tool. Reviews would also be more comprehensive as the coverage could comprise whole transactional databases.  “Building an effective and robust analytics process into the internal audit function is a journey. Each organisation must specifically align the analytics approach with its own Internal Audit’s strategic plans,” added Mr Lim.

“Data analytics in internal audit is becoming more of a necessity as time goes on. I find that it is no longer a question of when to implement it but how. Such a change will require a change in mindset. But the results will be worth the effort,” said Mr Ong Jian He, Internal Auditor, United Industrial Corporation Limited, who attended the talk. 

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