For over 130 years, the North Dakota Office of the State Auditor (hereinafter “State Auditor’s Office”) has served the state’s 750,000 residents by auditing state agencies to improve operations as well as ensure the integrity and transparency of government. Issuing nearly 200 audit reports each year, the State Auditor’s Office audits the state of North Dakota as well as counties, cities, school districts, the university system, and federal royalty payments from oil, gas, and coal leases.
With the entire state to oversee and a large staff to manage, driving efficiency and consistency throughout the audit process is key to delivering high-quality audits. Previously, the State Auditor’s Office took handwritten notes when meeting with clients and conducted paper-based audits. These manual processes created many challenges for the State Auditor’s Office, including papers being easily misplaced, duplicate time spent taking notes and then entering them into Microsoft Office, and wasted time spent numbering, referencing, and cross-referencing pages.
In 2009, the State Auditor’s Office decided it was time to automate its internal audit processes. After conducting the proper due diligence, it selected Wolters Kluwer’s TeamMate audit management software with these goals in mind:
- Eliminate paper
- Improve collaboration between auditors and their work product
- Achieve greater control of confidential information
- Increase audit integrity
“It was important to implement an audit management system that wouldn’t force us to change our processes in order to fit the solution,” said Dustin Walcker, Systems Auditor for the North Dakota Office of the State Auditor. “Because TeamMate is flexible and highly configurable, it enabled us to customize the solution to mirror our existing processes while significantly improving the efficiency and consistency of our audits.”
With TeamMate, the State Auditor’s Office now has a centralized repository that houses all the audits in one location. This facilitates greater collaboration and ensures a consistent, reliable work product is produced. TeamMate also helps the audit team more efficiently manage daily activity by allowing multiple auditors to simultaneously work on audit projects, rather than having to “track it down on someone’s desk and figure out where they left off.”
Dealing with a variety of government agencies means security is a top priority. Walcker says TeamMate makes it much easier to keep confidential information safe and secure.
“When our audits were paper-based, confidential documents were stored on a shared file on our network. But that meant documents were all over the place and we weren’t always aware that the audit contained confidential information because it wasn’t in the paper file,” said Walcker. “With TeamMate, we can lock confidential documents, so you can still see that they are part of the audit but prevent the possibility of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. Functionality, such as freezing documents so they can’t be manipulated and establishing security groups, also ensures the integrity of our audits.”
With the belief that transparency leads to a more effective and accountable government and better-informed citizens, Walcker says TeamMate is instrumental in aligning the State Auditor’s Office with its organizational goals.
“We want the work we do at the State Auditor’s Office to be extremely visible to not only our stakeholders but also to legislators and the public,” said Walcker. “With TeamMate, we know that our audits result in accurate and reliable information that helps clarify issues, identifies corrective actions and brings more accountability and integrity to government programs.”