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ComplianceFinanceTax & AccountingDecember 01, 2022

Establishing credibility and delivering value to the organization with TeamMate Analytics

Dating back to 1961, Arizona G&T Cooperatives (AzGT), a not-for-profit electric generation and transmission cooperative, has always focused on innovations that drive progress. Over the course of the last 10 years they’ve embraced new technologies, upgraded their operations, diversified energy resources, built a smarter grid, and strengthened their overall security. It was a decade that has laid a foundation for sustainable success.

Brett Bergeson (CIA) has been in the power industry for more than 20 years, focusing primarily on the financial, accounting, and internal audit end of the business before joining the Arizona G&T Cooperative team to manage their auditing department and Enterprise Risk Management program. Brett brought with him a vision and a set of goals with how he wanted the internal audit function to operate while, at the same time, ensuring that he would be able to consistently deliver value back to the organization.

A clearly defined goal

At the very start of his internal audit career, it was important to Brett that he establish a method of audit communications that would lean heavily on documenting the processes and standards so that the audit practice could be repeatable and consistent. In doing so, Brett was able to ensure that his work was never viewed as preferential; an initiative that has proven to be hugely important to his overall strategy.

Just as important was the need to codify the auditing processes and procedures. An early example of this was discovered while conducting one of his first audits specific to the use of employee PCard purchases. 70% of the employees had purchase cards, resulting in thousands of processed payments. Brett began an initial analysis of random data samples, a task that, in and of itself, did not yield any initial problems or concerns. But when transitioning to a more subjective data set, the number of red flags was an indicator that Brett needed to look at all the data to uncover not just the things he knew about but to also identify anything he did not. A more refined approach was clearly needed.

“I started doing some initial research. I talked to some people from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and asked what they were doing, what programs they were using, what software they were using. And as I went through that exercise, I landed on TeamMate Analytics right away because of it being so incredibly user friendly.” — Brett Bergeson, Internal Audit

After incorporating TeamMate Analytics into his audit process, and benefitting from its compatibility with Excel, Brett was able to analyze the entire population of PCard purchases and quickly extract the data that he had been searching for. The programming and parameters that he needed were already built into the application, requiring even less time for Brett to become both comfortable and proficient with the TeamMate Analytics tool.
Working with TeamMate Analytics opened my eyes right away. Almost immediately I understood what I could do and how I could handle the population, how I could go beyond random sampling, and obtain the accurate data and the answers that I needed.
Brett Bergeson, Internal Audit

Discovering depth of functionality

The more time Brett spent with TeamMate Analytics the more he discovered additional areas of risk and other findings not previously apparent. And nowhere was this more obvious than during an audit of AzGT’s employee payroll.

While conducting individual audits of employee vacation and overtime submissions, TeamMate Analytics allowed Brett to sort through and quickly identify any irregularities and issues worth looking into further. Rather than taking a random sampling of employees’ hours to evaluate and analyze, Brett was able to take a much larger cut, equating to thousands of records. This process prompted additional questions that warranted further examination and discovery and positioned Brett as a trusted advisor to the business, elevating his work to that of more than just auditing.

“Sharing this audit information with senior executives as a trusted advisor has allowed them to consider things like: ‘Is this the right amount of overtime? Do we have too much overtime? Do we need more employees? Do we need to somehow organize this better so it's not costing as much?’ Before TeamMate Analytics, I could never have been able to do this.” — Brett Bergeson, Internal Audit

Building confidence with management

How do you build confidence with your management team so that they take your recommendations seriously? So that they believe what you're showing them are things that need to be fixed (or potentially fixed) or, at a minimum, examined more closely? It all comes down to the credibility of the data being reviewed.

People are busy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a line manager or the CEO of the company. If you come to them with a potential issue, but are incapable of providing supporting documentation, that’s a problem. But if you come prepared, with the data to prove it, that’s something real. That’s something substantive. You’re no longer “wasting their time” but rather offering options and recommendations for appropriate next steps.

“Credibility, it's a huge thing. You know it's true. And, I think this is particularly true when it comes to internal audit, where you're making those type of recommendations. You've got to be very careful with your approach. You've got to have confidence in your answers.” — Brett Bergeson, Internal Audit

Peer-to-peer advice

It has become nearly impossible to gain sufficient audit evidence and risk coverage using more traditional (e.g., manual) audit methods. Relying on sampling alone is no longer good enough. Data analytics allow auditors to carry out more work — in less time — with expanded coverage. TeamMate Analytics has been providing its customers with greater audit insights through deeper and more robust analysis.

“Change is hard. It’s not always good, in and of itself. But analytics is a good change and it's going to save you time. [TeamMate Analytics] is going to help you organize your data and allow [you] to look at the entire population, rather than just a sample.” — Brett Bergeson, Internal Audit

When Brett mentioned to his CEO that he was scheduled to speak with TeamMate about their analytics capabilities, his response was: “If that’s the tool you’re using to bring that level of data analysis to us, go for it.”

They see the value of TeamMate Analytics. They understand what I can bring to them. They see, firsthand, the reports, the graphs, and the analytics of what is going on. They realize the importance of being able to clearly examine all the data and what that means for the end result.
Brett Bergeson, Internal Audit
TeamMate Analytics provides immediate savings in the time spent on administrative tasks. It expands the population set to 100% which allows for greater opportunity to identify and report on hidden risks. The reporting visuals it generates prompts better communication with stakeholders and further establishes credibility for the audit function, all of which equates to delivering greater value back to the organization.
For auditors who are challenged to improve audit productivity while delivering strategic insights, TeamMate provides expert solutions, delivered with premium professional services, to auditors around the globe and in every industry.
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