“These days we’re able to work more effectively, despite having fewer available resources,” says Staci Crane, Director of Internal Audit for Horace Mann.
Doing more with less
Last year, Crane’s department was operating at 64% staffing capacity, yet internal audit managed to reduce its project timeline by 53% with Wolters Kluwer TeamMate+ Audit on TeamCloud, Wolters Kluwer’s hosting service for TeamMate. This reduction in the project timeline included a downshift in planning days by 49% and fieldwork days by 17%.
What exactly made these gains in efficiency possible? According to Crane, it all comes down to the transparency and collaboration TeamMate+ enables.
“We made the decision to bring our business contacts directly onto the TeamMate+ platform,” Crane explains. “Doing so made an enormous difference. Now, instead of internal audit having to chase open issues, the businesses feel empowered to take full ownership of their audit work right out of the gate. They see the relationship with internal audit as more transparent, and they know they have a say in the process. As a result, they view us as their trusted advisor. They come to us asking, ‘Can we work through this issue together?’ It’s a true collaboration.” That collaboration cut the department’s total remediation follow-up last year by 150 (from 450 to 300), but TeamMate+ has done a great deal more than just help tame the internal audit process. The solution has also led to a promising overhaul of the audits themselves. “Because the businesses are now proactive with their reporting, the quality of our audits is higher overall,” says Crane.
Growing without the usual pains
Too often, benefits like quality and transparency come with a fair amount of change management collateral damage. But so far, the transition has been seamless. “The feedback we get from our business contacts is that the software is easy to understand and simple to use,” says Crane. “Plus, our board found switching to the automated reports a breeze. They like that they can get any data they want and that we didn’t have to change too much from what they wanted to see on the reports.”
Using TeamStore, TeamMate’s knowledge base and content library, Crane and her department have made the most of this enhanced visibility on the back end of the reporting process as well. “We’re able to align our processes with IIA standards,” says Crane. TeamMate+ lets the team run a report of all current audits and sort by due date. They can highlight in red what’s overdue, and during a standup, see why things are behind. With the advanced warning, they can have a quick conversation to get back on track rather than having to fix a major issue down the line.
Cleaning up QAR
“Previously, the Quality Assurance Review process would demand 400 hours of Crane and her team every year, but TeamMate+ has changed the game (and the workflow) for the department in all the right ways. “Working in TeamMate+ has saved us at least 250 of those hours,” says Crane.
“We no longer have to delve into each individual audit,” she continues. “We can build project templates from the ground up with all the right tests and projects and procedures in place. We tie these procedures to the standards, and we have the option to run a report for each procedure against a standard. That means we do it once, rather than having to reinvent the template every time. Instead, every audit is the same — that makes the whole process more accurate as well.”