A small team doing big things with TeamMate+
When Giancarlo Millo was asked to set up an internal audit function for Maltese conglomerate Mizzi, he wanted an audit system that would pull together disparate businesses, maximise his efficiency and enable him to grow the function. He explains why he chose TeamMate+.
The Maltese organization Mizzi Group employs about 1,000 people across a range of sectors – from car dealerships, drinks manufacturing and fashion and food stores, to a yacht yard and electrical engineering, catering and hotel services. It also owns shares in insurance and gaming businesses.
When its non-executive directors suggested that the rapidly expanding group would benefit from demonstrating strong corporate governance standards, the board appointed Giancarlo Millo as group chief internal auditor. He used his experience in the banking sector to set up its new internal audit function in November 2017.
“My first concern was getting to grips with the complex structure of the organisation,” Millo explains. His second was to identify an internal audit system that would connect the disparate areas, log and track audits and monitor and automate follow-up processes.
“The system I’d used before wasn’t good on the feedback and reporting side, and I knew that I wanted something that worked better in these areas,” he says.
Automation was important because his tiny team has no time to send repeat emails to managers checking, monitoring and writing up post-audit actions. “I wanted a system that automated audit follow-up actions and made the whole process as efficient and as straightforward as possible,” Millo says. “I chose TeamMate+ because it was the best system, and because the team was professional, supportive and helpful. The fact that the sales manager had internal audit experience meant he understood my requirements.”
A consultant spent three days with Millo in May 2018, showing him how to configure the system, which went live on 1 July. “Wolters Kluwer made us a high priority in the first days after we went live and their project management was excellent,” he says. “They helped us when a couple of issues came up and supported us to customise our risk assessment so that it reflected the audit universe I’d set up. This background support is not to be taken lightly – don’t underestimate its value.”
A few months on, he has already seen dramatic improvements in follow-up actions. “TeamMate+ sends automatic reminders to the business and flags up managers’ updates so that I can review them when it suits me,” he explains. Best of all, it puts managers in control of their follow-up actions. “They get notifications and can do all the updates themselves, which is a huge bonus and improves productivity.”
The reporting element is also stronger than the previous system he used. “With TeamMate+ it’s easy to make changes. We just have to put in the data, and it does all the reporting groundwork for us.”
Feedback from management has been overwhelmingly positive. Managers say it is more professional and helps them to keep track of recommendations and implement actions in their own time. “They also see why this is important and that this is all about helping them,” Millo adds.
Millo chose the cloud-based version of the system to ensure it was automatically upgraded. “This made financial sense for us and the fact that we can always access the latest version of the system without adding any more to our servers means that our function is now leading the organisation,” he says. “I now want to explore using different dimensions and make use of the full range of reporting functionality.”
In the future, he is keen to embrace the power of data analytics. “This is where internal audit is going to add value in the future. Data analytics will be essential to improving efficiency and TeamMate+ will support this.”
Millo has plenty to do in the short term, but he has his eye on the technological horizon. The world is complex, but the best systems allow internal auditors to help their organizations face the future, whatever that brings.