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More Prep = Less Fieldwork

Quick Tips for Using IDEA to Stay Ahead

Summer has wrapped, school is in session and fall is here! And just like a boomerang, busy season will be back around soon. We’ve rounded up a few ways CaseWare IDEA® can help you prepare for fieldwork and save some time.


Prepare for the Future by Looking to the Past

Preliminary fieldwork provides assurance and helps you know where to start before the year-end.

Start by evaluating last year’s busy season by conducting a retrospective evaluation on the prior year. What went well? What could have gone better? What should you do differently? Audit files typically contain suggestions for audit efficiencies such as whether the scheduling process, budgets, and staffing were appropriate and adequate.

Analyze All Assets

Having a starting point can save hours of effort. IDEA’s built-in regression, correlation, trend analysis, and time-series functionality can help you quickly analyze many areas prior to starting your fieldwork including:

  • Customer invoices with shipping notes
  • Recalculation of depreciation
  • Loan loss provisions – review old loans and determine how likely it is to collect
  • Inventory provisions – are there any items old enough to write off?
  • AR allowance – are there any receivables ole enough to reserve?
  • Identify account balances in excess of pre-defined limits – what is considered excessive or material?


Set Benchmarks & Browse Around

A great place to start is analyzing accounts receivables data. Set a benchmark before year-end work commences. For example:

  • How does middle-of-the-year AR data compare to year-end data? Is it drastically different?
  • Review income statements to be sure what is recorded in sales or in AR is not overstated
  • Perform an aging of the Accounts Receivable detail to identify possible uncollectable accounts for confirmation testing
  • Review receivables to determine which customers you want to send year-end confirmations to
  • Select customer samples prior to the year-end
  • Compare current 3rd quarter data to the previous year
  • Review credit memos issued during the year to determine the reasonableness of AR allowance estimates
  • Match the AR detail at 3rd quarter end with the AR detail from the prior year to identify any long outstanding receivables for valuation review


Test the Numbers

When conducting an audit and working to determine whether internal controls are working as expected, the numbers will always point you in the right direction. For example:

  • Invoice dates should always follow PO dates
  • Compare vendor payments, inventory quantity x unit price – is the amount accurate?
  • Compare year-over-year with the population
  • Exception tests – look for duplicate transactions, ghost vendors, customers or employees
  • Filter high-value transactions, vendors – look for gaps, duplicate transactions, and rounded numbers
  • Search for goods shipped to a customer, but not invoiced
  • Look at all transactions that require management approval
  • Identify duplicate serial numbers, accounts, etc.
  • Analyze dates, times and types of transactions to identify data anomalies
  • Check for sequence gaps within purchase orders, check numbers and journal entry numbers
  • Analyze all employees with authorization to post to the general ledger and summarize by authorizer to be sure each transaction was authorized by the appropriate person

These types of tests give you reasonableness of the client. If anything sticks out, you know where to focus your attention.


Let Discover be Your Guide

There are countless ways IDEA can be used to help point you in the right direction. Still not sure where to start? Let IDEA’s Discover feature do the work for you!

With the release of version 10, IDEA entered the realm of analytic intelligence. It automatically identifies trends, patterns, and outliers, and presents them in a visual dashboard for review within seconds.

Depending on the Analytic Intelligence processing, charts are either presented with summarized data or stratified data.  Auto-generated chart captions that detail the database name, field names and the analysis performed accompany each chart. You can save the dashboard with the generated visuals or modify the displayed information using the Visualize Task.

You don’t have to know the data – IDEA does the analysis for you.  This is a great benefit for new staff to the team, who can start contributing to the work immediately with their findings – or better yet, get a jump on the busy season rush!

Need an extra set of hands for busy season work? Our Professional Services team is ready to save you hours with everything from data acquisition and importing to automating repeatable tasks with custom IDEAScripts. See how we can help lighten your workload by contacting [email protected] to get started!

Audit , Best Practices

Posted By

By Sarah Palombo
Sarah Palombo founded Avery Public Relations in 2007 and took on Audimation Services as her first client. She has more than 20 years of experience developing communications programs and creating content.

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