In a recent webinar, ACL’s Chief Product Officer, Dan Zitting, shared a story about a physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who raised the vital issue of handwashing compliance.
By raising this to stakeholders and developing training and communication initiatives to ensure accountability across hospital departments, handwashing compliance at Vanderbilt increased from 58% to 97%.
But, the residual outcome was even more impressive: as a result of cleaner hands, certain hospital-contracted diseases dropped by up to 33% and 61%—proving that risk assurance can have a material impact on an organization. The opportunity this story brings to audit is a challenge to open up a way of thinking that allows us to target true risk areas.
Here are some more real-life stories of how rock star auditors are using the power of automation to deliver a perspective that’s much broader and more objective than what anyone else in the organization can provide.
Mitigating bank robbery risk
A major bank (and ACL customer) recently examined their data for indicators of past and potential branch robberies. They ran analytics to determine where future robberies were likely to occur and changed their policies to reduce those risks. As a result, they’ve built an additional risk management program into branches that are statistically more likely to experience robberies.
Finding illicit cell phones in prisons
A state prison system obtained cell phone carrier data to identify when certain phone numbers hit a cell tower adjacent to a specific prison. Next, they looked at instances where that same cell number hit a tower next to a different prison—and matched those hits against prisoner transfer records. The state was then able to identify illicit cell phones inside the prison and reduce the chance of other banned or dangerous materials entering the prison system as a whole.
Stopping child labor and avoiding conflict materials
Another customer used supply chain data to eradicate vendors that were likely to engage sub-vendors involved in using child labor. Not only does this work have great social impact, but it also eliminates the organizational risk of a child labor disclosure in the supply chain. That same customer also found supply chain indicators of raw materials coming from war-torn regions in Africa, and was able to eliminate the risk of acquiring conflict minerals that might be financially perpetuating or supporting war and atrocity.
Preventing patient deaths
In the public sector, we know audit and inspection teams that identified (and helped to jail) unscrupulous healthcare providers that were over-diagnosing illnesses and over prescribing unnecessary but expensive drug treatments that resulted in patient deaths.
Freezing terrorist funding
In the financial sector, our customers have identified patterns and behaviors that helped freeze funds that had been supporting suspected terrorist sympathizers, drug dealers, and other sorts of organized crime.
Assessing armed services deployment readiness
The internal audit team of a national government’s defence department considered the process for determining operational readiness for deployment of battalions into war zones. Historically, the determination to deploy was based on the readiness confirmation of the commander. When asked if a commander had ever said their battalion was not ready for battle, the answer was “no.” The audit analyzed key data on used equipment condition, spare parts inventories, training statistics and others to build a risk profile that measures whether teams are truly ready for deployment. With human lives at great risk, what decision is more important and risk-driven than deployment readiness? A great value contribution by audit, indeed.
Death of the Tick Mark, Birth of the Sought-After Internal Auditor
ACL’s very own Internal Auditor turned Chief Product Officer, Dan Zitting, gets up close and personal about his very own audit career. He also highlights: