BDO USA, delivers assurance, tax, financial advisory, and consulting services to clients throughout the country and around the globe. BDO USA is a member of BDO International, the world’s fifth largest accounting and consulting network. In this interview Director, Mark Mayberry, is responsible for the research, development and implementation of technology strategies including audit methodology, workflow and document management.
What are the Benefits of Data Analysis?
You're able to look at 100% of the data for whatever criteria you're looking for. So while it seems there's countless records, in reality, you're really looking for those exceptions. Using data analysis tools helps you sift through all that volume of data to find out what's really going on. Data analysis is very powerful in saving time in financial statement audits and allowing us to spend more time focusing on other key areas. It makes us smarter and more efficient.
How Does Data Analysis Help with Risk-Based Audits?
Over the years, I find that data analysis tools gives us the ability to have more focused audits to really drill down in to the areas of risk.
What Value Does Data Analysis Add for Your Clients?
The ability to use CAAT's can be very beneficial to our clients, because you may uncover patterns in their data that they weren't aware of. And, when you can present situations to your clients that they weren't aware of, that can add value to them as a company. That actually makes them very happy they hired you.
Innovative use of data analysis technology:
I was working on a case where some law firms were defending people in prison, and we were trying to figure out if the attorneys were over-billing . Through data interrogation, we found that some law firms were billing between 22 and 24 hours a day. We used that data to get back millions of dollars for the state charging back the attorneys for the over-billings.
How Long Have You Been Ssing CAATs?
I've been using data analytics probably since before they were called CAATs, so for quite a while. I think the ability to use data analytics is very powerful, it allows the data to talk to us. Helps us find the patterns or anomalies, if you will. Over the number of years that I've been doing data analysis, I've looked at a number of tools and I like IDEA. One of the reasons I like IDEA is it's very user-friendly, it has the kind of routines that auditors typically use and I find that very powerful.
AICPA IT Audit School
I've been very active in the AICPA, I speak at conferences on data analysis/CAATs, but I was also the primary contributor to developing the IT Audit School for the AICPA. As part of my committee work to the AICPA, I felt there was a need for some educational program for IT auditors to learn more about how they fit into Financial Statement auditing, where there is a disconnect in the marketplace. I helped AICPA develop the IT Audit School, with the primary focus on helping IT Auditors understand the power of CAATs and how they fit in with both an IT Audit and Financial Audit. It's important for the IT auditors to understand how to link to the Financial Statement audits so that they are focused on the primary areas that create potential financial statement risk.