Why do companies automate? The answer is typically some combination of the following reasons:
- Better Results, i.e. to provide a better product or service
- Error reduction, especially reducing accidental human mistakes
- Scalable – Need to address an ever-increasing number of transactions
- Practical – Enabling the business to do something that is otherwise impractical
- Reliability – Assuring continuing operations regardless of what is happening around it. The latter is particularly true in the age of pandemic.
These reasons involve automated process controls. Yet when someone mentions internal controls, the knee jerk response is to push back, i.e. ‘we don’t want no stinking controls – ‘cause they take longer, chew up resources, interfere with business…’ You understand the argument.
Consider Amazon, arguably the most successful online retailer, at least in the US. Amazon could not be the success it is without automation. Key to that automation are the controls built into its systems to prevent a host of problems, such as offering to sell items it doesn’t have, mis-pricing items, selling items when credit card charges are denied, sending orders to wrong addresses, putting the wrong items in the box and so on.
The goal of automated controls is to provide assurance that the business operates in compliance with its standards and practices. An IT Audit is an evaluation process designed to provide that assurance.
The twin goals of IT Audit are the development of these controls and the confirmation that they are working as intended. While this may seem straightforward, configuring the application software to work within these constraints and knowing how to confirm that the controls are operating effectively requires specialized knowledge and skills.
To this end, our firm through its network of associate firms has the ability to assess your business systems and confirm they are doing what they need to do. If their operation is compromised, we will recommend changes to get the controls back on track. If your controls are insufficient, we will suggest automated, or manual, controls to plug these holes.
In either case, our objective is to ensure your business is operating reliably and effectively in compliance with your approved standards. We are Your CFO for Rent.
This post was written by our valued partner, Jerald Savin, President and CEO of Cambridge Technology Consulting Group, Inc.