22 Aug 2019

FLOW: Forensics, technology and the future of legal services 08: Internal Audits

Companies hold data in various sources, which makes data analytics a key driver in the internal audit process. Through our team of forensic experts, we present all data to our clients in a centralised form whereby we use our technology tools to analyse the data. Using dashboards, our clients can clearly see any potential issues or anomalies within their organisation. These interactive dashboards can be left with you so you can use this as continuous control monitoring platform.  

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.


Hello, I'm here talking with one of my colleagues Deepak Pillai who's one of our data scientists within the Forensic & Technology Services team.  Today what we are going to be talking about is how clients use data in their data analytics in their internal audit programs, so could you tell us about what technologies you would use to tackle those business problems.

Firstly with data we have to recognise there's actually lots of different sources of data, within an organisation you might have a financial system that is collecting financial information.  You might have a procurement system that is collecting information about contractors.  When we run our analytics what we are actually trying to do is collect and bring all of this information into the one place so we'll take data from the financial system, we might take emails, we might take other sources of information and put that into one large data set that we can actually then run our tools over to help identify any potential issues which we then actually use a dashboarding tool to help visualise and allow our clients to deep dive into some of the issues that we might find.

Okay and what would be the top 2 benefits that clients will receive doing data analytics in their internal audits?

Firstly the clients will have analytics that will help identify where some of the control weaknesses are but also help quantify how much those risks will actually be worth and then secondly a lot of the analytics work that we do we create dashboards that the client can interact with.  As part of that we can actually leave those dashboards there which they can feed additional data into to make a continuous control monitoring platform so those issues, if they arise again, will be identified at the start.  Here we have an example of a dashboard.  This one specifically caters around accounts payable.  As you can see we've got a range of different tests covering different aspects of the accounts payable process.  One of the examples I'll jump into is the invoices paid before purchase orders, this is an issue at most organisations where purchase orders aren't necessarily created before the invoice is raised.  In this dashboard you can see on the left hand side we have a summary of vendors that are potentially affected and the number of internal users that have created an invoice before purchase order.  On the right hand side each of these dots represent an individual vendor and when you click on to one of them you will see the details associated where an invoice has been paid before a particular purchase order.

Wonderful, well thank you again Deepak and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Thank you.