The word ‘Auditors’ sends shivers down my spine, much like Mufasa from The Lion King.
Then you’re left wondering why.
Is it the repeated information requests when you don’t have time to rummage through your file cabinets looking for an invoice or contract with the relevant approval signature on it? Is it the tight deadlines?
Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations has your back, with multiple compliance features to ensure necessary controls and business processes are followed, reducing the stress of unwanted Audit findings.
Here’s how an ERP solution can help you:
1 – Validations
Record-level validations defined in back-end tables are executed automatically when data-entity inserts and updates are performed. These validations take place just before the actual insert or update to the data source. If the validation fails, an error is flagged, and the process for other data sources is terminated.
2 – Approval and Notification Workflows
A workflow is a depiction of a business process. It shows who oversees completing a task, deciding, or approving a document as it moves through the system.
The following people may be involved in a workflow: the originator, task assignees, decision-makers, and approvers. When a user completes a task in, say, the expense report workflow below, the document that was submitted for processing is assigned to the next user in the workflow, assuming there is one. The workflow process is completed if no further processing is required.
When a document is assigned to an approver, the approver can approve, reject, delegate, or request a change.
There are several benefits of using the workflow system in your organisation:
- Consistent processes – You can specify how specific documents, such as purchase orders and expense reports, should be handled. Using a workflow system ensures that documents are consistently and efficiently processed and approved.
- Process visibility – You can view the status, history, and performance metrics of individual workflow instances. This assists you in determining whether changes to the workflow are required to improve efficiency.
- Centralized work lists – Users can access a centralised work list that shows the workflow tasks and approvals that have been assigned to them.
- Workflow history – Finance provides a report indicating the status of a document submitted to the workflow system for processing and approval. This report can be used to view approvals. A date stamp and the type of document are displayed.
System of Reference
The right accounting software will act as a system of reference, digitising and unifying an organisation’s financial data. You can have everything you need in one place. You don’t have to drive to a warehouse miles away or wait in a cramped room with the AC turned off until the company you’re auditing finally gives you the documents you need.
Record of Events
Consider how audits work. The success of an audit has always depended on the completeness of the company’s records. Auditors could only do their job if they had the documentation necessary to know what occurred when and who approved it.
Today, your finance solution should serve this purpose. Most financial management applications include some form of digital event tracking. But the breadth and accuracy of the event record will vary according to the financial software model.
The more best-of-breed the financial system—the more dissimilar the components it’s made of—the lower the likelihood that an audit trail will be comprehensive. The more unified the finance solution—the more seamlessly interwoven it is—the greater the likelihood of a complete event record.
Tools for Review
Once again, picture the traditional setup. Since the “Renaissance”, auditors have depended on a close physical analysis: on the abilities to access, examine, cross-reference, track, and verify.
The right finance application will support these functions and more. Modern auditors should have a range of advanced BI tools at their disposal: tools for drill-down and drill-through; rapid and role-based access; configurable reporting; multi-dimensional inquiries; and a complete and navigable audit trail.
This same toolset will also strengthen internal controls in the audited organization. Financial managers should have the ability to perform ongoing ‘soft’ audits: to monitor cash flow, trace approvals, retrieve invoices, run inquiries, and more.
Cloud ERP systems are flexible, giving you anywhere access to your information, boosting productivity, and keeping teams connected throughout the globe. Being able to access data when on-the-go, or on-location with customers, partners, and suppliers offers a level of convenience and agility that moves business forward.
The uncomplicated implementation of cloud ERP systems can save time, resources, and the headaches that may occur from complicated, on-premise implementations.
Operating on a monthly subscription, cloud ERP systems often do not require a high, up-front investment, which can make a considerable difference for smaller businesses.
Make the Smarter Choice
Transform your business with Microsoft Dynamics 365—intelligent business solutions that seamlessly integrate ERP capabilities. Based in the cloud, Dynamics 365 apps help break down silos across your business by giving your team a unified view of operations taking the headache away of auditing in your company.
I will continue this journey in Part 2 – where I uncover the essentials of an Auditing Process and the value of ERP is for more streamlined auditing business outcomes.