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Internal audit software is a computer program or application that a company can use to review financial information. Company accountants are typically the primary users of this program, although the company’s upper management may also have access. Many internal audit software applications allow users to track audits, gather information needed to conduct field research, review computerized audit trails, implement controls, and review audit policies against national accounting standards. Large organizations will often employ several accountants whose sole responsibility is to audit the company’s financial information and data.
Companies can conduct internal audits as frequently as they desire. Publicly held companies may have requirements that result in quarterly internal audits from internal or external auditors. Using internal audit software allows companies to create a digital record for each audit. Companies can list the individuals who can access the information, along with those responsible for completing certain tasks or activities. Internal auditors may also need to upload their fieldwork papers or other items tested into the software program to give upper management the ability to review the audit paperwork.
Some internal audit software also allows for the electronic gathering of information. When used in tandem with other software programs in the company, such as accounting, finance or general management, auditors can create reports listing the financial information the auditors will review. Using an integrated audit software system can save copious amounts of time, as the auditors can spend more time actually reviewing information rather than gathering the necessary data. During this information gathering process, auditors can also review computerized audit trails. This trail reports all users that have accessed information and made changes to the accounting system, which is a necessary part of the audit process.
When using internal audit software, companies can set internal controls that limit the ability of users to access or change information. Most companies need to segregate their accounting duties among several different employees. A computerized software system allows accounting managers and supervisors to limit the number of modules or activities one individual can complete in the company’s software system. Auditors will often test these computerized controls to ensure the company has accurately separated accounting duties.
Companies may also be able to implement accounting or audit guidelines into the internal audit software. This allows for an immediate comparison of the company’s accounting guidelines to national accounting standards. Retaining an electronic copy of previous internal audits also allows the company to determine if it is getting better or worse in terms or accounting processes. External auditors needing to review this information can also have access to the software for more official audit purposes.