Audits are rarely described as “quick” or “simple”. Confidential documents are compiled, collected, and delivered by the dozen. An endless ping-pong of emails is accompanied by Excel spreadsheets shared, edited, and re-shared countless times. Despite best intentions and efforts, the process is usually disorganized and inefficient. Even for an experienced auditor, maintaining an overview of what is still to be done and by whom is seen as an "additional" burden.
Could all this be handled differently? NeonAudit, an audit firm located in Finland, thinks so.
Taking a step back, an audit engagement is just like a project. This may seem obvious to some, but rarely are audits treated with the same vigour when it comes to planning and resource allocation. Instead, schedules, responsibilities, and tools are all over the place - yet accurate results are expected in a tight time frame.
NeonAudit knows that every minute that can be saved from sorting through emails is more time spent understanding the client's business and providing them with advice that has actual monetary value.
AuditDashboard is a cloud-based software solution developed by long-time industry and audit experts located in Canada, which helps auditors focus on project management best practices.
The founding principles of AuditDashboard are clarity, simplicity, and user-centric development. It provides audit participants with an overview detailing what has been delivered, what has yet to be delivered, and the planned schedule. All the information is readily available, and project updates are automatically delivered as thoughtful email summaries.
"During the busiest times, when we have multiple audits going on at the same time, the tool gives me a clear view on what is still to be done with each customer. I can actually see the progress of individual cases by the percentile," says Esa Rusanen, one of the founders of NeonAudit. "Our strength has always been agility and the ability to react quickly to customer needs. With AuditDashboard, this is now easier than ever before," he adds.
A key feature of AuditDashboard is the list of documents needed for the audit. In NeonAudits' case, the list is compiled separately for each customer and is visible to everyone participating in the audit. It can be sorted, for example, by the person responsible or document priority, which helps plan and monitor activities. Defining responsibilities and deadlines down to individual documents ensures that the schedule stays on track. Every participant knows exactly what is expected of them and how the overall process is going.
Documents can be delivered and updated through AuditDashboard’s user interface. The tool maintains up-to-date information on document version history, detailing who has made what changes and when. Document requests can also be freely commented on by both the auditorand the client, which keeps the conversations in good order.
"The simplicity of sharing documents has received praise from our clients. We have noticed that fewer things fall through the cracks, both on our end as well as theirs. We all share the same view on what has already been done and what is still expected," says Esa.
Data security and privacy are a must when sharing confidential documents. AuditDashboard's security management features are far superior to traditional email.
Logging into AuditDashboard is also easy. This can be done through invite-based credential creation or simply using existing Microsoft or Google business accounts. Files uploaded into AuditDashboard are always encrypted, and in the case of NeonAudit (or any other EU-based user), stored on high availability servers located in Europe.
"Our clients have been pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to log in. No one wants a 'yet another password,' and AuditDashboard has handled this part exceptionally well," explains Esa based on client feedback.
"Since we started using AuditDashboard, the number of emails that I receive has diminished by a sum measured in four digits. What this means in practice is that information and documents are more available and better controlled, which in turn provides me with more time to focus on what is really important," Esa says.
"The usability of this tool is exceptional. It has provided clarity over what documents have already been delivered throughout our whole organization. We always give a big thumbs up to solutions that make things this much more efficient!" says one of NeonAudit’s long-time clients responsible for multiple entities which are routinely audited.
Even though an audit will always be a laborious task, AuditDashboard helps everyone focus on what truly matters. In NeonAudit’s case, understanding clients, quickly reacting to their needs, and delivering timely advice and support has tangible value.
To learn more about conducting audits more efficiently, be sure to check out what AuditDashboard has to offer!
This case study was written by Miko Eklöf and first appeared on NeonAudit's website.
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