There’s a reason why businesses are trending towards big data. Data analytics can be used to isolate areas of a business that need to be improved, in addition to paring down to the areas of the business that are performing most successfully. Through an internal audit, a business can fine-tune and streamline its business processes, ultimately using performance metrics to improve its productivity and revenue.
Begin with Well-Defined Objectives
Before you can begin to analyze metrics and trends, you need to identify the core objectives of your company’s audit. What information is going to be included in the audit? Which of the company’s business processes is the audit focusing on? Is it a wide-scale audit intended to identify organizational inefficiencies, or is it a focused audit intended to drill down to specific departments? Your objectives are going to guide the data that you collect and how this data is processed.
Collect and Analyze Data
Business intelligence is a method by which data is analyzed to identify areas for improvement as well as other valuable analytic insights. Once data has been collected, business intelligence solutions can be used to identify patterns and recognize areas that need to be worked on. Business intelligence suites today are incredibly complex, able to learn from your organization’s data and deliver reporting that is tailored to your business.
The quality of analysis is directly proportional to the quality of your organization’s data. A large part of the audit will lie in validating the data that your organization has acquired and ensuring that the reporting accurately reflects what is occurring during your day-to-day business processes. If inaccuracies are discovered at this stage, stricter controls may need to be implemented on your company’s data collection and record keeping.
When collecting data, it’s important to involve those who work most closely in each applicable role. It’s these key individuals who will be most familiar with how their department or team works and how their data is collected.
Creating Actionable Insights
Audits don’t just produce data — they produce a roadmap. An audit closes not only with its findings but also with actionable suggestions that are designed to resolve any problems that have been discovered with the organization’s business processes. Once an audit has found waste within the organization’s business processes — whether it is time or resources being wasted — the audit will then go on to suggest mechanisms by which this waste can be reduced.
A business process audit isn’t a one time project. Rather, audits are done at intervals to make sure that business processes are being continuously improved. Through this, an organization’s leadership can ensure that the business is not falling prey to wasteful processes and that it’s remaining both agile and competitive. For more information about auditing business processes, continue to follow the experts at Starr & Associates.