How SAP Solutions Can Make Audit Management Processes More Cost-Effective

  • by William Newman, Managing Principal, Newport Consulting Group
  • October 4, 2011
Organizations face challenges to make their internal audit processes less labor intensive and more cost-effective. Learn how you can manage resources, schedules, tasks, and remediation activities for internal audit programs using SAP NetWeaver’s audit management functionality.
Key Concept
SAP NetWeaver’s audit management functionality allows full program life cycle management for internal audit activities, including IT, management systems, and financial operations. As part of the SAP NetWeaver platform, SAP NetWeaver’s audit management connects seamlessly with specific SAP BusinessSuite modules such as SAP ERP Project System and SAP ERP HCM to faciliate audit planning. New enhancements are available for internal audit risk management as part of the SAP BusinessObjects GRC 10.0 release with SAP NetWeaver’s audit management.

Audit activities can span a number of corporate functions, including IT, finance, management systems, and operations. They also provide greater transparency of the business operations of an organization. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA, www.theiia.org) suggests that an internal audit is “an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations.”

The process by which most organizations conduct audit activities can be summarized in Figure 1. Based on what triggers an audit schedule — perhaps business planning rounds, regularly scheduled risk mitigations, or even a compelling period of poor business performance — there is an element of planning in the form of scheduling and a level of pre-audit assessment. In a traditional audit process, this planning could include notification of the business operations or functional group that participates in the audit, the areas of the audit scope, and the schedule by which the audit is conducted.

Once the audit activities commence, a number of execution activities occur, including the formal launch of the audit, field work and examination, the development of working or so-called brown papers that consist of document comments and observations, and finally the formal audit findings. These findings and supporting documents are then presented in an exit conference during which the rationale of audit findings may also be shared. In a traditional setting this is the last on-site (or in today’s technology environment real-time) activity that occurs before the final report is developed and distributed to the organization. The organization then considers any corrections that need to be made or improvements to deficiencies found in the audit that need to implemented in the organization to improve business operations or meet a required level of compliance.

William Newman

William Newman, MBA, CMC is managing principal of Newport Consulting Group, LLC, an SAP partner focused on EPM and GRC solutions. He has over 25 years of experience in the development and management of strategy, process, and technology solutions spanning Fortune 1000, public-sector, midsized and not-for-profit organizations. He is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) since 1995, qualified trainer by the American Society of Quality (ASQ) since 2000, and a trained Social Fingerprint consultant in social accountability since 2012. William is a recognized ASUG BusinessObjects influencer and a member of SAP’s Influencer Relations program. He holds a BS degree in aerospace engineering from the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA and an MBA in management and international business from the Conrad L. Hilton School of Management at Loyola Marymount University. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at both Northwood University and the University of Oregon with a focus on management studies and sustainability, respectively.

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