When purchasing internal audit software, it’s important to look at several areas beyond pricing. While you certainly need to keep budget in mind, implementing a tool just for the sake of its price could be more expensive in the long run if it leads to a lower quality audit. If it’s hard to communicate audit data, for example, then stakeholders might miss certain risks that could end up hurting organizations.
Instead, strong software should streamline audit planning and make it easy to share audit reports so that not just the internal audit function, but organizations as a whole can act on audit findings. So, when purchasing internal audit software, it’s important to also review how different platforms compare across categories like:
1) Data and analytics
One of the most important areas of internal audit software is data and analytics capabilities. A good audit management tool should be able to simplify areas like collecting data, by using APIs to sync up with other risk management tools or finance systems. It should also provide analytics features around areas like visualizing data to identify risks, as well as automating areas like numeric analysis (e.g., Benford’s testing). Otherwise, you might not receive much more value than you would from using Excel.
Related to data and analytics capabilities, auditing software should also help facilitate cross-departmental collaboration. Strong data integrations with other systems can help internal audit teams understand what’s happening in other areas like regulatory compliance and information security. With everyone on the same page data-wise, internal auditors can then more easily collaborate with these other groups to provide combined assurance and a stronger audit process overall.
Another important consideration when choosing internal audit management software is the security of the technology itself. Having great data and analytics capabilities is less beneficial if an internal auditor doesn’t have confidence that the system uses sufficient security protocols, as sensitive data could then be at risk. Some organizations also might want the option to host internal audit software on their own servers to meet their technical and security requirements, whereas others might prefer a cloud deployment.
Organizations should also consider the reporting capabilities of audit analysis tools. For one, you likely want to consider the time and effort it takes to generate audit reports, especially if your internal audit team is taking a continuous risk assessment approach You also want to be able to report audit findings to executives, boards, and external audit in a digestible format. This ties back to data analytics features that can help create data visualizations for audit results.
5) Ease of use
Lastly, consider the ease of use of any type of auditing software before purchasing. Which can include looking at areas like implementation time. Not only do you want to know how long it takes to establish a system, but it’s often worth considering the user experience and similarities to any existing systems you might be using so that you can get a sense of how long it will take internal audit staff to feel comfortable using the new tool.
Also, some audit analysis tools might be easier to use than others based on their interoperability with existing systems that an organization has in place. Being able to easily share data between current tools and new auditing software can then make it easier to collaborate on findings, identify risks and adjust internal controls.
Review before you buy
Focusing on these five considerations can help you choose the right auditing software for your internal audit process and optimize your ROI for the platform.
After weighing these types of areas, many organizations turn to TeamMate+, a leading internal audit software platform with robust data and analytics capabilities, streamlined reporting features, and strong security practices, that can help improve your audit function.
Even if a solution seems to check all the boxes on paper, it’s helpful to see it in action to get a more realistic sense of how you would use it for internal auditing.