The general ledger is the core of the financial reporting system. Since the GL holds nearly all the financial information used to create the financial statements, it often contains massive amounts of data. There are a few shortcuts you can use to quickly identify anomalies and outliers, and gain a deeper understanding of what has transpired during the year.
The AICPA Center for Audit Quality recommends using Computer Assisted Audit Techniques (CAATs) to run the following queries:
Request a detailed year-to-date GL report in electronic form, including detailed transactions with user input information.
Using the same GL database of approximately 1,700 records, an intermediate-level user measured the amount of time required to generate these queries using three different applications.
Approximate Time to Perform GL Query
|Microsoft Excel®||61 minutes|
|CaseWare IDEA®||29 minutes|
|Financial App||11.5 minutes|
While IDEA outperformed Excel in this test, queries are produced one at a time. The Financial App is a collection of 55+ basic audit tests, data requests and reports. It offers an extensive set of routines for analysis of general ledger, accounts receivable, inventory, fixed asset and accounts payable transactions.
This App enables the user to run multiple queries, including those listed above, simultaneously while significantly reducing potential for human error. It also simplifies the data request process, and provides automatic documentation for the audit objective and results of each test.
|Pros||Some reports are straightforward by utilizing "Filter" function in Excel.|
|Some reports are straightforward by utilizing "Criteria" or "Direct Extraction"|
|Cons||Manually extracting and saving each and every report takes time||Some reports require an extra step to complete|
With the App, users may tag fields within the database to rerun the same tests in the next period. For example, if the user runs the same reports each month, it will take approximately 45 minutes. Using the tagging feature in the App, the same report rerun would take less than 10 minutes.
While there are many tools you can use to analyze the general ledger, our comparison tests show the Financial App can help perform the same queries in less time, and with greater accuracy.
The IDEA Marketplace is the first online store for audit tests worldwide. It offers convenient access to Apps designed to simplify preparing, importing, testing and analyzing data.
Within IDEA, click on the SmartAnalyzer tab, then find the marketplace icon in the ribbon. Click on “Discover the Marketplace” for a list of available products. Or visit The Marketplace. You will need to create a log-in or account. The Financial App is available to all IDEA users for 30 days.
The Marketplace is a critical component of an auditor’s toolkit. It offers affordable, on-demand access to time-saving technologies.
– Chuck Manganiello, CPA, Founder of AuditSense