Brian Cullum used IDEA in the mid-90s and recently revisited his use of data analytics to assist in due diligence of a middle market business during a bankruptcy process. He shares his experience returning to IDEA and asks professionals a thought-provoking question.
I was first introduced to CaseWare IDEA in the mid-90s while working for a firm that performed external audit support services for an asset based lender. IDEA was easy to implement and use, and offered tremendous value to both our firm and the clients we served. We primarily used IDEA to perform reviews of client lending relationships including executing basic and analytical procedures on the entire data population, which would have been challenging and time consuming without the use of technology.
Using IDEA, we identified a multi-million-dollar fraud based on the overstatement of the borrower’s lending base. While the dollar recovery was significant, IDEA helped us go a step further to identify the perpetrator’s specific methods and techniques to cover up the malfeasance. Our use of IDEA did not require technical expertise. It was straightforward, intuitive and helped accomplish our goals in a short time span.
As my career changed, my use of computer-assisted auditing techniques changed course. However, in early 2017, I revisited IDEA to assist in my due diligence of a middle market business during a bankruptcy process. There were a myriad of issues including disordered financial records attributed to a departed CFO who failed to perform his function. With IDEA I was able to quickly gain insight into the business’ process performance by executing steps that would have been nearly impossible using other tools. IDEA made my work much more effective and efficient, and the conclusions were clear.
Several years ago, IDEA helped me uncover a multi-million-dollar fraud including the specific methods the perpetrator used to cover up the malfeasance. When I recently needed to conduct a due diligence audit of a middle market bankrupt business, IDEA helped me quickly gain insight into the businesses’ process performance in a way that would have been nearly impossible using any other tool.
Brian Cullum, Returning IDEA User
The improved functionality of IDEA was certainly impressive. It made me wonder why some audit and accounting professionals were not using it more. My question to the profession is, “With all the technology you’ve personally adopted, are you going as far as you should around increased data insight and analysis? When tools like IDEA are readily available, easy to use and cost effective, what’s stopping you from using them?”