How Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe became more efficient and effective with TeamMate Analytics
Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe and TeamMate Analytics
Data analytics have significantly changed the role of internal auditing. The ability to provide deeper insights into the inner workings of an organization, improve inefficiencies, and identify risks is critical in today’s increasingly dynamic and volatile business environment.
For Florandy Lopez, Chief Audit Executive for the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe, and his eight-person internal audit team, managing millions of data transactions every month is not uncommon. The federally recognized Tribe operates two casinos, hotels, gas stations, and other businesses in and around northern California, for which the organization’s internal audit team conducts compliance, operational, and financial audits.
The casino and gaming industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States and has substantial reputational risk. For these reasons, the Tribal Council understands the value that internal audit delivers to the organization – compliance, detection of irregularities, and opportunities for improvement. Meeting those challenges means staying on top of the tremendous volume of data is paramount.
Title 31 of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) enforces compliance with the law’s anti-money laundering regulations. Ensuring the Tachi Yokut tribal casinos meet these regulatory demands is the most important function of the internal audit team. Failure to comply with Title 31 can cost millions of dollars in fines and may even include criminal penalties.
The road to automated data analytics
In 2008, the internal audit team implemented Wolters Kluwer TeamMate. Lopez says the automated audit management system was a vast improvement from their previous manual, paper-based processes, which he describes as “arduous.” As the team has grown and evolved, so have their needs. In February 2021, the internal audit team migrated to TeamMate+, Wolters Kluwer’s fully configurable, web-based audit and assurance management expert solution.
At a TeamMate User Forum, the internal audit team was introduced to TeamMate Analytics, a powerful, Excel-based audit analytics tool designed to put the power of analytics in the hands of every auditor on the team regardless of their IT skill level. After expressing interest, Wolters Kluwer gave them a chance to “play around” with TeamMate Analytics in their audit environment.
“I was immediately blown away by the test library and its (150) pre-built tests. All we need to do is import our data, and it does the data analytics work for us,” said Lopez. “TeamMate Analytics functions as if you have another auditor on your team and has significantly improved the accuracy and efficiency of our testing and regulatory reporting.”
Significant time savings
Lopez presented TeamMate Analytics to the Tribal Council. They immediately approved adding the tool to their TeamMate suite of solutions, which includes TeamMate + Audit, TeamCloud, and offline. Automating data analytics has yielded impressive results for a data-rich organization like the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe.
“When we used manual testing for data analytics, we tested 10 percent of our transactions, relying on typical sampling methods. If that sample had a lot of errors, we would increase our sample size to 25 percent. This could take us up to one week to complete. It was incredibly time-consuming, and only testing such a small sample increased the likelihood of us missing something and left the organization vulnerable to risk,” said Lopez.
“We review hundreds of thousands of data daily and millions every month. With TeamMate Analytics, we can upload our data in one hour. If it’s error-free, we can leave it and be confident that the data is good. We usually test against 50 percent of our data, and if we find errors, we increase our sample size incrementally to 75 percent and then 100 percent. TeamMate Analytics does all the analysis within a couple of hours, saving us hundreds of hours.”
Once the data is reviewed and cross validated, Lopez says TeamMate Analytics makes it easy to share his findings with leadership, which in this case, is the Tribal Council. The tool easily exports the data analytics into graphics for a visual representation of the results.
Lopez says the goal of his internal audit team is to continually strengthen and improve the growth of their business partners. And TeamMate Analytics is helping them do just that.
“We want to continue to align with the strategic vision of the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribal Council,” said Lopez. “We aren’t there to police other functions, but to ensure that we identify the risks that could cause reputational or financial harm. The more successful we are, the more the organization can grow. It’s a win-win for everyone.”