The oldest bank in Cyprus turns to TeamMate+ to align its audit work for the future
Panayiotis Koumousis, manager IT audit & data analytics for the internal audit division, Bank of Cyprus, explains how TeamMate+ is helping to woo auditees and management.
Bank of Cyprus is both a domestic retail bank and a global financial services organisation listed on the London and Cyprus Stock Exchanges. So, when its team of 40 internal auditors discussed what they would need to perform their role in future, they looked for a solution to help them tackle today’s challenges and emerging risks.
“We faced several major challenges,” explains Panayiotis Koumousis. “We had time-consuming administrative processes and were limited by cumbersome Excel-based files. There was too much administration in our follow-up processes and inconsistencies in the way team members carried out audits.”
The internal audit team is split across departments in the bank’s technical control framework. Some work in financial services, some in operations and some in technology. There are also dedicated teams for investigations and data analytics.
“We wanted to move to a paperless audit environment, enhance the effectiveness and quality of our audits, make our processes more consistent, increase collaboration with auditees and streamline our reporting and follow-up activities,” Koumousis says. “We wanted a centralised platform that would help us to automate our audit processes, produce an inventory where we could centralise our risk controls, working papers and findings, and enhance collaboration with auditees.”
TeamMate+ was the only solution that met all these needs. The project began in September 2018 and went live in April 2019. A year later, Koumousis has a long list of the benefits he has seen – and those he expects to see in future.
- “We now have multi-tasking teams working on the same papers, which is enhancing their integrity and our accountability. We have real-time interaction with auditees and this is making them more willing to collaborate with us. All our risks, controls and working papers are stored online and are easy to access,” he says. “We can produce standardised, consistent reports for the board and our customers.”
- In the audit follow-up process, the team no longer sends emails, makes phone calls or shares Excel files – all communications are online. Koumousis says the process has improved efficiency and integrity, increased productivity and enhanced the user experience for auditors and auditees.
- Audit preparation, scheduling, assignments, approvals and monitoring are all done automatically, which has reduced audit time and means that actions are supported with evidence. Continuous risk assessment means that the risk status of each entity is constantly monitored throughout the audit cycle. Workpapers and audit evidence are centralised, saving auditors time organising, processing and reviewing files. Reporting to committees and management and analysis of audit information is better presented, and the timelines, quality and user experience have all improved. The libraries and templates in TeamStore save preparation time in every audit.
- More broadly, Koumousis credits the implementation with enabling “transformation in internal audit”. “Internal auditors are now more efficient in performing their daily activities and our auditees feel happier about the way they collaborate and the results they are getting,” he says.
Further benefits have come from extending the automation to the bank’s investigation processes, self-assessment of retail controls, regulatory monitoring and external audit monitoring.
Koumousis says that the board now considers TeamMate+ to be “a valuable partner in the organisation’s digital journey and the future success of Bank of Cyprus” and he now wants to develop the system further. “There are several new functionalities we want to use. We are keen to enhance the way we schedule resources, manage our time, leverage enhanced automation potential and increase our use of data analytics.”
Strong corporate governance is essential to maintaining the bank’s long-term reputation, and TeamMate+ is helping to ensure its systems are fit for a global, automated and integrated 21st-century financial services industry.